Monday, October 31, 2022

Behaving Myself

Looks more of the seasonal merchandise is finally in at Breyer, including the Neva that I’ve been eyeing:

There’s also another sequined blanket this year, but unlike the one that came in a gift set with Le Mer, you can buy it separately! (And it’s pink and yellow, one of my favorite quilting color combos!)

Breyer is definitely making it a challenge to behave myself.

But what’s really throwing me off is the Vintage Club announcement, and the picture of the first release in next year’s set, the Fury Prancer Rustler. Who also happens to be a Musicbox Prancer:

The surprise isn’t in the item itself – y’all know I’ve known about it for months, my homies – but that they just kinda-sorta snuck the reveal on the web site with all of the other stuff. For a couple of seconds there I was worried I had accidentally leaked something! 

(The line between me knowing things and predicting things is one I have to monitor constantly, as you may know.)

But anyways, I am glad the first release has been revealed. I’ve been wanting them to do a Musicbox Prancer for years now, and I am very pleased at the way he turned out.

I haven’t had the good fortune of owning a vintage Musicbox Prancer yet: like most things, it’s been a matter of either timing or money. While they are still hard to find, they’re not as rare as many collectors imagine them to be. 

Like Ranchcraft Lamps and various iterations of the Groomers, a higher percentage of them have survived because they had a purpose beyond being toys. Consequently, they were treated a little less roughly, and were less likely to incur the kind of serious damage that would get them thrown into the trash.

As for who and what’s in store for the rest of the 2023 Vintage Club lineup, you know the rules, guys: just wait and see. 

(I think it’s great, but I am also a little biased, LOL.)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Full Speed Ahead

Lately it seems like I’m running 1000 miles per hour, which wouldn’t mind so much if I didn’t suspect that there’s going to be a brick wall springing up out of the road at any minute. 

The new Premier Club mold Constantia is also going full tilt, though judging from the look on her face, I doubt nothing short of Inertron will stop her: 

It doesn’t seem like it, but there have been a decent number of Breyer Standardbred molds over the years. 

Well, okay, technically four, not counting CollectAs and things labeled or modeled after Standardbreds after the fact, like the 2010 BreyerFest Celebration Horse All Glory. Halla was part Standardbred, too, maybe I could count her as half...

Even so, that’s more than many other breeds have gotten!

It started with the original #46 Pacer in 1967, followed quickly by the #51 Adios in 1969. Then we got the Stablemate Standardbred in Kathleen Moody’s G2 mold assortment introduced in 1998. In 2000, the resin version of Sarah Rose’s Hambletonian was introduced, with a Crystal and MiniWhinny version eventually following. 

And now we have Constantia! (Is it any surprise to anyone that I’m calling her Johanna?)

Considering next year’s theme is “Driving Forward”, I strongly suspect that we’ll be seeing Constantia in next year’s BreyerFest Special Run lineup, though probably in a more conservative color. 

A Dapple Gray would be lovely, I think. I’m a big fan of Standardbreds in general, so I’d buy her in just about any color, regardless. Even Lemon Yellow Palomino Roan Pintaloosa.

That’s all I got today. I haven’t been sleeping well this week and it’s just about time for today’s attempt. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

More Ephemeral Things

The second Spooky Stablemate has arrived:

Yay, something different! I like the Stablemate version of Samhain better than the Traditional, but that’s because while I like Wixom just fine, I still pine for a pumpkin-themed original Hess Belgian instead. And the Stablemates Belgian mold reminds me a lot of him...

Even though I said I didn’t have any preferences when it came to the current crop of Halloween Stablemates, I was a little bummed that I didn’t get the Mischief Night: that’s the only one of the three that I have in its original, larger form. Alas, no twinsies for me!

I was a little more excited, actually, that I got this year’s Holiday Catalog:

Last year’s arrived mangled, and the year before I didn’t even get one at all, so getting a completely intact one was a happy surprise.

As a dedicated ephemera collector, I figure I’ll snag the 2020 (and a better copy of 2021) in somebody’s free box at BreyerFest one of these days. As much as I’d like to be an ephemera completist, they are not a thing I consider absolutely essential for research purposes.

I didn’t find a lot of paper freebies in Kentucky this year, mostly because I didn’t get in as much Clarion shopping as I wanted to. And when I did, the freebie boxes were pretty cleaned out. 

One thing I did pick up was this very amusing misprinted early Classic Racehorse box. It’s not in the best shape, but c’mon, how could I pass this up? 

“Quality Control was so much better in the old days.” Not really guys, not really!

The weather is going to be cooperative for the next couple of days, so I need to get hopping on all the photography I’ve been putting off. 

I’m aiming on reducing my inventory to half of what it currently over the next several months. Partly to accommodate the totes for a potential entry to BreyerFest Live next year, and also because of the big sewing project I have planned. 

I need to be ruthless with my overgrown fabric stash, and once I settle on some patterns, I intend on converting a lot of it into pony bags. Some to use (obviously) and the rest to sell at BreyerFest. Maybe even some to give away, depending on how productive I am. 

(Lately, not so much!)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Red Roan Mares

Why is everything so hard right now and taking three times as long as it should? Argh!

Oh yeah, I forget: it’s October. Me and October don’t mix. People who say their favorite season is Fall can politely stuff it. Keep your Pumpkin Spice nonsense, I prefer seasons with green growing things!

Anyway, here’s the story of the Red Roan Running Mares I promised.

When I first got into the hobby, I was obsessed with acquiring a Breyer Red Roan. I had just missed seeing them in stores – they were pretty much discontinued by the time I started collecting – so when I saw one pop up on a Bentley Sales Company “Discontinued” Sales List in the early 1980s, I rode my bike to the Post Office and sent that money order by the end of the day I received it.

I had no idea at the time she was the Special Run that debuted at Model Horse Congress in 1982. I was lucky enough to get the Red Roan Running Foal secondhand not long after it was released, but I was either unaware or unconcerned about the matching Running Mare. 

(Maybe because it seemed silly to me at the time to buy a Special Run of something that had already been released as a Regular Run item?)

I loved and adored her, but I was young and dumb and newly cognizant of the power of nail polish remover, and I… slightly customized her, as I did many of my model back then. 

I still have a few of those retouched models, but the Running Mare was sold some years later, I think during my first big collecting purge in the late 1980s. I was slightly embarrassed that I had done such a thing to what was in reality a rather scarce Special Run, and didn’t want to be reminded of my youthful experimentations with acetone.

I did acquire all of the original Red Roans eventually, three of them in one fell swoop at my local flea market. And all with Blue Ribbon Stickers, of course! I contemplated reacquiring a more minty version of the Special Run, but most of the ones I found were a little out of my price comfort zone. But you know me, I am fine with waiting…

At BreyerFest this year I wanted to focus on getting a few choice Vintage pieces, but high quality older items were hard to find. And every time I asked around, I ended up getting directed to rooms that had lots of Vintage Club items, which was definitely not what I was looking for. 

I walked into a room that was still setting up, and came across a couple of Red Roan Running Mares, one of whom was quite obviously the Special Run. They were still unpriced, and when I inquired I was informed that neither one was the Special Run, and the price for either was… less than a current Regular Run Traditional. 

All righty, then.

So I bought her. It was the logical thing to do.

The next day I was shopping in another part of the hotel, hoping to score something else that was higher up on my want list (scarce early Five-Gaiters, a Woodgrain, or a decent Dark Smoke or Gloss Dapple Gray Belgian). As I walked into one promising room, I glanced to my left to quickly scan a chorus line of assorted Running Mares, and I saw her.

My original Red Roan Running Mare.

I immediately vocalized my thoughts: “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’ve found you.”

I did not care who heard me; I doubt anyone was paying attention.

Did I start crying? I can’t remember. My hands shook as I picked her up and I went to the seller to tell her the mare’s origin story. In turn, I found out what my old gal (her name was Peppermint Twist, by the way) had been up to: she had been residing in California in a collection with several other Red Roan Running Mares. 

I managed to get her price down a bit – I think the seller saw how verklempt I was – and thanked her for allowing me to return her to her family, and give her a happy retirement from her travels.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Christmas Lists

Well, I thought I was going to talk about the Roan Running Mares today, but there’s been lots of odd bits of news in the past few days that should be covered sooner, rather than later. 

First, it’s good to know I wasn’t the only one who got shorted on the Spooky Stablemates! It would also explain why the CSR I spoke to was unfazed about it. That makes me less worried about the whole situation.

Second, they finally confirmed the dates for next year’s BreyerFest; I know there were several folks out there worried about the dates changing after that initial announcement, but I think most of the delay was in getting the legal paperwork ironed out. 

(I’m not privy to any of that, but based on prior experiences, it seems like a pretty reasonable guess.)

I’m kind of hoping that their casual mention of Morgans in their BreyerFest ad copy means we’ll be seeing the Stretched Morgan next year, but it’s more than likely another release of Troubadour. Which I don’t mind, but my Stretched Morgan Army could use a few fresh recruits. I don’t think the mold has ever had a truly acquirable BreyerFest Special Run release, so he is due. 

(I am not counting Bennington or Showboat, because buying a Special Run should not require the sale of your kidney.)

And right after I put my foot down on my new pony purchases, Reeves casually dropped images of a ton of holiday merchandise, including a creepy-cool Winter Decorator Classic American Dream named Neva:

I’m pretty sure those zombie snowmen want to kill me. I wonder if this design got its start as a Halloween concept and was…slightly repurposed? I really dig the dark metallic blue and silver combo; it reminds me a little of the more blue-ish variants of the Sham release Rana. 

I will likely end up buying the Christmas Socks, because I’m always up for more novelty footwear, but otherwise I think I’m safe from temptation. 

As far as the Holiday Pony Playset goes, even though I am a big fan of the Pony of the Americas, I’d rather stick to the original version of the mold, rather than whatever goofy mane and tail wigs they’re putting on it now. 

It’s also extremely likely that I’ll never find the original Black Appaloosa POA or any of the 2010 WEG Toby variations, so the risk of a spontaneous shopping eruption is very, very small…

(And every time I say something like that, something magical inevitably happens.)

Monday, October 17, 2022

Expensive Week

The words just haven’t been coming easy this week. Part of it is the season: this is the time of the year where my Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks in hard, and some days (like today!) it’s hard to even get out of bed. 

But a lot of it has to do with all the petty – and not so petty – personal and professional grievances cluttering up my mind. On the personal side? My Spooky Stablemates order arrived, one Stablemate short:

That’s… aggravating. Man, I’ve got so much on my plate now, and dealing with a missing Stablemate is NOT helping. 

A phone call has already been placed, and the second one will be on his way soon, but I’ll believe it when I see it. (Pretty sure if it does arrive, it will be a duplicate. But, whatever...)

This week has been so expensive, both literally and figuratively. I think I might take a pass on buying any non-obligatory horse purchases through the end of the year, including that Display Box of Stablemates I had been thinking about buying for myself. 

Looking around my office it’s quite obvious that I’ve bought enough for myself this year already!

(Suddenly remembers Chadwick, sighs deeply.)

I did manage to get a little bit of cleaning up in the office done yesterday, and made a few hard (and not so hard) decisions about some of that stuff.

For one, I’ve decided to sell off my Peregrine. Even though he did NAN in his class at the live show I didn’t do all that great at, I have not grown as attached to him as I thought I would. Maybe because I didn’t even get a chance to open him until the day before the show? 

Or maybe I’m feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff cluttering up my life, and I know he’ll be an easy sell I won’t lose money on? And that money will come in handy for other expenses coming up?

I always feel a little guilty with selling horsey things for a bigger-than-average profit, but I am at a point in my life where I am valuing experiences over things, and did I forget to mention that I’ve been pricing plane tickets and rental cars for my Grand Wyoming Adventure next year? 

I’ve gotten so used to BreyerFest that I had forgotten how expensive actual vacationing is. If losing Peregrine, and a few other choice pieces, gets me where I want to go, so be it. 

(And if you are wondering about those Red Roan Running Mares in the background, you’ll see them next post.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Remains of History

Since we’re on the topic of Gambler’s Choices, I finally opened up my clear Jol:

I think Reeves missed an opportunity here with the gemstone Desatado release Fire Opal: imagine if that color had been painted in translucent and/or iridescent paints on a clear glitter body? 

I mean, it’s possible that they did try it and went “meh, didn’t work” and that’s why they went with what they did. But getting more creative with the translucent bodies – like they did with Jol, obviously – sometimes pays off.

(This is just a convoluted way of saying I want more glittery translucent Traditionals.)

Anyway, on a more melancholic note, the estate sale of our now deceased neighbors across the street was this past weekend. I went in at the beginning to get one last look around the place – and see what the family did not claim for themselves – and then at the end to see what sold, and possibly pick up a bargain or two.

I think I may have mentioned this before, but one of them was a Serial Cowboy/Lone Ranger/Hopalong Cassidy fan, and at one point there were at least a handful of related Breyers in the house. 

(Those were not present.)

So I picked out an assortment of the better Western-themed books (several signed!) and a few others: some as mementos, and the rest to supplement my depleted book sales stash, especially since I was out of town for the local AAUW Book Sale. One of the “others” was an inaugural edition of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage that had handwritten notes on the days both JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald were assassinated. 

They also avidly collected Presidential memorabilia, so I know that that had to have meant something to them: history written while it was still raw and fresh. It felt so odd finding it there at the end of the sale, marked down and ignored until I picked it up. So I rescued it.

Although there is no history that would have been lost if it had been shuffled into a book sale donation pile – there’s nothing in those notes that adds or enhances our understanding of those events – the meta-narrative of the fact that it was a meaningful part of their Presidental history collection would have been lost.

Which is why I write what I do, when I can do it. As you know, I own many such meaningful things. This blog is not just about their history, but the history of the history, and why it’s important to have these things in my collection.

And in case you are wondering, you will not find any “bargains” at my (hopefully very far in the future) Estate Sale. The ephemera is going somewhere where it can be archived and documented for future historians, and several friends and family members know full well how much some of this stuff piled around me is worth.

Or maybe by then, it won’t be. I will be fine, either way, as long as some of the history remains, with it or about it. 

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Out and About

FYI: when the pharmacist says that the Shingles vaccine might kick you in the butt for a day or two, believe them! 

I don’t exactly have a lot of spare time right now, but most of my Friday had to be slept away: my body decided staying awake was not an option. Today I’m just mildly nauseous and have a slight headache: in other words, just your typical Monday, if it didn’t happen to be Saturday. 

This also arrived on Friday and was entirely predictable:

They don’t appear to have sold out yet – either they made more than they usually do of the Classic Gambler’s Choice Web Special, or since it’s a mold made last century nobody but us old farts want it anyway – so I’ll bide my time until the remainder get sold by other means. 

Earlier this week I was in the vicinity of another Tractor Supply that was even less well stocked than my local store, which only served to remind me just how rapacious my local co-hobbyists are. Just two lonely Snowbirds and a Zeke were left!  

Then I thought I’d take a chance at the local Dollar General that I hadn’t gone into in the past couple of months, and found these babies:

Yay, (the) cheap Stablemates! Someone had already swiped the Saddlebreds, but that’s okay: at least I found something. A win is a win, and I am taking it. 

I mean, cripes, even the Stablemates Sets at both Tractor Supplies – which are just early releases, not actually Special Runs or anything – were nowhere to be found.

(Yes, I am aware of the VIN numbers on the TSC releases kinda-sorta make them an exclusive variant, but the road to collecting Stablemate Variations is paved with madness.)

Like Johann, I am going to wait until the entire situation is less ridiculous. The Unicorn sets will be available everywhere eventually. And according to the Breyer web site, display cases of the standard, non-VINed version of the blind bags they sell at TSC will be in stock on the web site soon, so I will go with that as my XMAS present to myself this year, whatever series it happens to be. 

Will I get a chase piece? I’d love to finally get one of those ultra-rare metallic ones, but I am not counting on it. 

Whatever. I’ll just be happy to get a danged box. I don’t have the time to worry about it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A Few Random Thoughts on Emma

It was not a huge stretch of the imagination to believe that the Carltonlima Emma was going to go up in price after the Queen’s passing, but even I am a little taken aback by some of the prices. Nearly $200 for a NIB one? Yikes!

Especially since I sold an unboxed one (I received it as a duplicate in a box lot) for $20 at BreyerFest back in July. 

There was no way of knowing, of course. It was a very good box lot, priced very cheaply, and I more than made my money back on it. 

I think that’s one part of the problem with the rather “optimistic” pricing I see on the Internet: the haunting possibility that you might have missed out on even more profit if you had just waited long enough. 

I don’t have the time or room for that nonsense. 

I’ve sold, quite probably, thousands of models over the years, which isn’t as mind boggling as it may seem: a thousand models is about 100 models a year for ten years. I sell an average of 50 to 75 pieces at BreyerFest alone, and I have been going to BreyerFest for a very, very long time...

It does bother me when I find I undersold something, or that I took a gamble on something and lost (which has happened to me so frequently that I’ve become very risk-averse), but I can’t go back and make people pay me the profit I missed out on. Whether it’s bad timing, or an honest mistake on your part, you have to let it go. 

Tangentially related to talking about Emma: one thing that does boggle my mind is Original Finish models with solid black, unshaded paint jobs doing well at live shows. 

Back when I was first live showing back in the 1980s, Solid Black horses – other than the occasional Test Color – rarely placed well in halter, because it was assumed that minimal effort was made to paint it.

Even now, when I’m making my selection on who (and who not to) take, the unshaded black ones rarely make the cut. I think the only one I show semi-regularly is my Stablemate Quarter Horse Stallion Pancho, and that’s because he also has that very sharp, early mold detail that negates the “no shading” bit.

(And the fact that he’s a rare, early Stablemate Special Run!)

(FYI: The one on IDYB is not mine, but looks almost identical to mine. Not in a mood to dig mine out at the moment. He was one of the handful of horses that did NAN at the last live show I was at.)

But back to Emma: I think it’d be neat if Reeves brought Emma back in a special edition of some sort – Gloss, or maybe with a ribbon or bit of tack – and I’d definitely buy it. Buy just like my original Emma, I still couldn’t see her as live show material. 

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The Bluest Time of the Year

You have no idea how much the wholesome conversation contained in the post previous delighted me! 

As much as I would like to continue it, extended philosophical discussions about the intersection of two of my favorite pastimes will have to be put on pause: I’m now entering my money-making season (both online, and offline) and my spare time is not plentiful.

Speaking of money, some of that as-yet-unmade moolah has already been spent on a Johann: 

I have a feeling I’ll be getting one of the lesser-desired ones – will it be the Appaloosa, or the Palomino? – because that’s how my luck runs. While it does not matter to me (because I do WANT THEM ALL), it would make life less of a hassle if I could get one of the more desirable/expensive ones out of the way first.

While making a post office run earlier in the week, I swung by the local Tractor Supply to see if they had gotten in their Christmas goodies yet, and they did – with the Stablemates predictably absent. Although I don’t have any plans of buying anything from Tractor Supply this year, I rather liked the Future Farmers of America Benefit Horse Blue: I’m not a huge fan of the Geronimo mold, but that shade of indigo was very attractive.  

It reminded me quite a bit of the color of the Curio-sized Resin #9132 Lexington they released at BreyerFest in 2010, except with some added cross-hatching to mimic the FFA corduroy jackets.  

Close up, though, the cross-hatching looks more like scuffs or flaws in the paint, and I imagine a few years from now collectors will assume that they are, the same way many now assume the single eyewhite on the Five-Gaiter Special Run Wil Shriver is, or the black birthmark on the #817 Abdullah release of the Trakehner.

Will I be buying Blue? Unless they go on deep discount, probably not. I have other blue-colored things to buy first, like the third and final Jól: my recently purchased (and extremely affordable) Clear one still resides in his shipping box at the foot of the bed. Maybe tonight, after I get some sleep...