Saturday, December 31, 2022

Holiday Leftovers

Feeling a little overwhelmed: aside from getting the second Shingles shot yesterday, I also had to work this week. While I certainly appreciate the extra money, it’s put me a little bit behind on my end-of-the-year activities. 

I have to keep reminding myself to not multitask. And to also stop looking at various photos of carriages, sleighs, chariots and other horse-drawn vehicles, because I do not have time for that nonsense, no sir. Work on your taxes like you had planned all along, girl!

And quilting. I managed to finish one yesterday, and another today. Neither one particularly well, but as my Art School instructors drilled into our heads: done is better than not done

(Only 35 more to go, LOL.)

I passed on the $200 Grab Bags. I’m sure they’ll be at least decent, but as I’m going through all my sales and purchases for the year because of the tax paperwork, I can see that my purchases are significantly outweighing my sales. Which may be contributing to that feeling of overwhelmingness. 

Gabriel was supposed to arrive on Tuesday, but he showed up this afternoon. While I appreciated his punctuality, that’s when I knew he was going to be a loose-maned version:

He, and the other colors I’ve seen on the Internet are very reminiscent of vintage anodized aluminum from the 1950s and 1960s, especially the purple ones. 

There’s been some suggestion that the Gabriels might be overpainted BreyerFest Nikolases, and considering how thick and automotive-like the paint is, that’s certainly a possibility, at least with the loose-maned ones. 

Though I think it was more likely that they were molded at the same time as Nikolas, and painted a little bit later (September, according to the VIN). I don’t doubt some leftovers from the BreyerFest run could have been added in to supplement the run.

As I am rather fond of anodized aluminum (I’m very much a Midcentury Modern girl!), and I may consider chasing down the rest of the set in the future, if and when I get things a little more under control here. In the meantime, the next two days are going to be nothing but quilting and taxes. And sleeping, of course. 

In a little BreyerFest news…

I found it a little odd that the G2 Standardbred wasn’t included in the One-Day Stablemate selection for next year’s BreyerFest. But as I’ve pointed out before, Breyer has way more Standardbred or Standardbred-adjacent molds than most of us realize, so I am going to assume that we’ll see at least one of them somewhere in the lineup.

Hopefully not as one of the prizes or raffle pieces, because my luck is nonexistent there. I briefly did a deep dive in the research between success and luck yesterday, and it was just as depressing as I thought it would be. When it comes to model horses, I am definitely not a part of the 20 percent who end up with 80 percent of the goodies!

Off to bed early again, hoping to feel a little bit better tomorrow. I’m kind of amazed I managed to get anything done at all today, all things considered. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Little Miracles

After a few minutes of consideration, I decided to buy a Gabriel anyway. Mostly predicated on the assumption that Tahoe is very clearly not happening for me. 

I have no preference on the color, though I am intrigued by the braided mane change on the purple and gold ones. I haven’t been a big fan of the alternate braided manes on molds like Roxy, Idocus or Newsworthy, but it looks nice on Nikolas – in fact, I think I like it better than the loose mane version!

They upped the quantity of “Coals” to 24 this year, and I am going to presume that they are equally divided between loose and braided mane variations. I’d love to be able to find out in person, but I am not counting on that at all, especially since I already had my Christmas “miracle”:

FWIW, I did actually gasp when I opened it!

This is the first time I’ve ever pulled a Chase piece from a non-Walmart Blind Bag assortment in the wild. Judging from the state of the box when I found it, it had been gone through at least once before, obviously by someone in search of the metallic “Ultra Chase”, because all 24 pieces in the box were present and accounted for. 

There was no method to my madness: after I had groped for all the missing pieces from the standard Mystery Horse Surprise Series 3 and threw in a couple extras just for funsies, I literally grabbed the first Croi-corn I felt in the Mystery Unicorn Surprise box and headed to the checkout. 

(I bought a big bag of taffy, too, but I do that every time I go to that store because it’s the only place in a 20-mile radius that sells the good stuff, and I’m too cheap to buy it on the Internet.)

Other than that, I spent most of the 4-day weekend binge-watching my shows (yes, Strange New Worlds is as good as they say it is!) and working on a couple of long-term sewing projects. 

I was mildly surprised that they announced a second BreyerFest Diorama Contest – an online one, to complement the in-person one – though I am just as hesitant to enter it as the original. I think I’ll stick to my current plan of live showing and customizing, depending on how the beginning of the year shakes out. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Box

Still no Tahoe, which should come as no surprise. Elsa has arrived, and guess what, I am totally dorked out about the box she came in:

The Big Poodle is on it!

I know it probably means… nothing. The Big Poodle – as opposed to the Small Poodle, which has had a few releases since its rediscovery in the 1990s – has been out of production for nearly fifty years now, longer than any other animal mold other than the German Shepherd (who is damaged, and not functional), the Modernistic Buck and Doe (who are just plain weird). 

I suppose the In-Between Mare still counts as the Queen of All This: she was out of commission for nearly 60 years before she came back. 

The Big Poodle was in production, in one color or another, for about 15 years. It was officially released in 1958, but it was also for sale in Christmas catalogs and magazine advertisements by late 1957. Which would have made some sense back then: Poodles – both as pets, and as decorative accents – were very much a thing in the 1950s. If the mold was ready for production in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season, why delay the release and miss all those potential sales?

Especially since their first attempt – the mold now known as the “Small Poodle” – failed to find a market a couple years earlier.

By the 1970s, Poodles were no longer as popular as they once were, and with the looming oil crisis making Cellulose Acetate hard to come by, the Poodle mold was one of many things that ended up getting the axe in 1973. Anyone who has owned a Breyer Poodle or two knows that they are pretty hefty – usually scaling up at around a pound. 

For comparison, the Proud Arabian Stallion – one of the hottest new molds of the early 1970s – comes in at a rather svelte 11 ounces. In other words, you could make about three Proud Arabian Stallions for every two Poodles!

But anyway, I was momentarily excited by the possibility that the Big Poodle might return – if you’ve been to my house, you know I have a lot of these big boys – but the economics of it are probably just as unfeasible now as they were in the early 1970s.

Stranger things have happened: I don’t think most of us (even me!) expected the IBM to return. 

(The question is… when next? LOL’ing if she turns out to be this year’s XMAS surprise…)

(Honest, though, I’m just as much in the dark as you all.)

Thursday, December 22, 2022


They’re already releasing the contest information for next year’s BreyerFest, and I have to admit that I am kind of stumped about what to do about any of it. 

The “Driving the World Forward” Diorama Contest wants us to create a diorama “that recreates a scene depicting an innovation or invention that drove the world forward”. That’s pretty… vague, though I’d be hesitant to venture very far from the transportation-related suggestions they throw at us in the first paragraph of the contest page. 

And since most of my ideas are not transportation-related, I’m not sure I should even give it much more thought. I’ve been down that road way too many times, with not a lot on my trophy shelf to show for it.

The Customs Contest is what it is, but I was a little bummed by the Theme Class: Dressed to Impress. It’s not about customizing, but tackmaking?! 

Tackmaking is not customizing; it’s not even remotely the same skill set. If they wanted to have a tackmaking contest, they should have just done that and not wedged it into another unrelated competition.

Man, I can’t believe I am this annoyed by a class I’d never enter anyway. Now if the class had been about customized models with sculpted-on tack or accessories, now that I could have gotten into...

Even though the earliest model horses for the Post-WWII consumers market had molded-on tack – hello, Breyer Western Horse and Hartland Champ! – sculpted or molded-on tack has generally been frowned upon in customizing circles. 

In recent years, some customizers have been making novelty customs with sculpted bits of tack, clothing and costumes, and customizing carousel horses has become popular enough that they now offer more than one class about it at BreyerFest. 

So a class that focused on customs with sculpted-on tack and accessories would have been trendy, challenging and also within the already established parameters of this contest, which is supposed to be about… pushing the boundaries of customizing Breyer horses. 

Anyway, that would have been my input into designing this contest class, but they didn’t ask me. And probably rightly so: I haven’t finished a custom in years! 

I might still think about entering the Fantasy Class, because I have a couple of ideas that might work, if I can find the time. And assuming that they’ll seriously consider an entry that’s more than 5 to 10 percent actual Breyer parts. 

I want to do them, regardless; it is just a matter of whether I want to give myself another deadline next year.

Sorry so cranky, my homies. This year’s version of Snowpocalypse is coming and I made the mistake of going into a grocery store last night to pick up a few things – more goodies to add to the charcuterie platter I’m making myself to kick off the extended holiday break – and I had a total derp moment wondering why the dairy section was so empty. 

Oh, and no Tahoe for me, either. That doesn’t make me angry, though, just mildly annoyed. Who are these people who think it’s totally reasonable to spend $400 to $500 on a 1000-piece Special Run? That’s Vintage Kinda-Rare Woodgrain money! 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Little Extra Something

I bought another box lot. I wasn’t planning on it, it just happened to turn up during my five-minute daily shopping scans. And I couldn’t pass it up because it was really cheap – as in, I could sell all of them as body box models and still make a profit kind of cheap – but I think most of them are better than that. (I’m good either way: my body box was absolutely decimated at BreyerFest, and I could use a restock.) 

I’m going to try and behave next year and keep my purchases – Vintage and New – to a minimum, because of the usual lack of both time and space. Other than Stablemates, because there’s always room for Stablemates! 

As a matter of fact, I had to do a bit of holiday shopping yesterday, and during the trip I picked up a slew of blind bags from the local not-a-Tractor-Supply store. They were 40 percent off, and I wanted to give myself something to open up on Christmas Day, besides the Breyer Christmas Day Special Run e-mail. 

That I’ll make an effort to actually be up on time to see it before it sells out. But will I buy it? 

It depends. If it’s something like Emma, of course. But if not, it’ll have to be something really spectacular, but my brain is kind of jelly from the writing project I’ve been focused on all week, so I can’t even think what that could be. Something small and pony-ish, I assume. 

Astrid? Misty? Aristocrat? Seems a little too early for Nikolas. Personally, I’d go totally Retro and pick the Western Pony: the Palomino Groomer was a Christmas Catalog staple for over a decade in the 1950s and 1960s. Put him in an assortment of Deco colors – the original four, Charcoal, Silver or Rose Gold Charm/Filigree, whatever. 

Though I suppose that probably won’t work, since it did come in solid gloss black back in the day, too. Racehorse? Kennebec Count? Khemosabi? Another Christmas Kitten? 

I’m out of ideas, LOL. 

Here’s a few recent arrivals – more Stablemates, of course!

The Mini Fireheart is a Fireheart; while I understand why they decided to go a little outrageous for this release, I’m looking forward to the more realistic colors on the mold that I am sure are already in the pipeline. 

I’m undecided on the new little Haflinger; he’s better (more detailed) in person than his online photos suggest, but he does seem a little generic? He reminds me a lot of a Family Arabian Mare custom I lost the plot on a few years ago. (In a good way: the FAM is way more interesting to customize than hobbyists give her credit for.)

I do like Kit’s fancy clip pattern, though. I generally don’t: while I think they can be awesome when they’re properly executed on a custom, they tend to look goofy on Original Finish pieces. That’s because they’re usually just painted on, with no attempt to render the textural element. It kind of gives them a slightly discordant “My Little Pony” vibe.

It kind of works with Kit, because he definitely needs a little extra something. I can see this mold wearing some wild colors and patterns in its future, and wearing them well. 

And speaking of a little extra something, that would describe the 2023 Stablemate Club bonus model Nero, on the new mini Georg/Giorgio:

That’s a mold that doesn’t need fancy clothes, but I appreciate the effort! His bigger brother, of course, was a big hit at the 2020 BreyerFest as the impressive semi-leopard Noriker Oak.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Batting .500

In a note almost completely unrelated to the rest of the post, I am mildly shocked that the Zombie Snowman Classic Rearing Mustang Neva is sold out. I am not so enamored of him that I have to buy one at a jacked up price elsewhere on the Internet, though.

Speaking of…

Well, I was half right: they made 1000 of him:

I mean, yeah, he’s pretty, but let’s not kid ourselves here: even though they made 1000 of him, the aftermath of this drawing is going to be Marshall (the notorious Micro Run Polled Hereford Bull) level ugly. I would not be surprised if several hundred of them end up getting listed for sale within the first hour or so of the drawing.

Some will sell because many hobbyists can’t be patient, thus ensuring that the cycle will continue on, ad infinitum. 

Look, most of my life I didn’t have the money to not be patient, and I’m not about to change. Plastic horses are frivolous things, and life goes on perfectly well with or without them. (Or so I tell myself.)

There are way too many Silver Filigree releases – some of them nigh unattainable – for me to be a completist at this point, so I am not going to get too worked up if I don’t get drawn for Tahoe. This is very likely: I don’t usually get picked for the “popular” ones, though I did get Zugspitze last year somehow. So I don’t have a lot to complain about, really? 

I’ll just put my entry in, and worry about it when the time comes.

Since I don’t plan on being online too much in the next couple of weeks – I’m planning to staying as offline as possible through the end of the year to get some real-world things done – I’ll probably miss most of the drama, thankfully. 

Though I may stream some Star Trek stuff over the holiday break while I finish prepping that massive hexagon quilt project: I received a year’s subscription to Paramount Plus as an early Christmas present, and I’ve heard so many good things about Strange New Worlds

This week I’m trying a new sleep schedule to improve my productivity. It worked out great yesterday, but day two has been some tough sledding. I think I’ll hit the sack a couple hours early and try it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

A Little Hope

Just out of curiosity, I did a really quick survey of Elsas for sale (quick because I don’t really have time for shopping: I generally do quick five-minute skims for box lots and Belgians, and that’s about it):

24 on eBay (4 sold), 23 on MH$P. I have no idea on Facebook, because I don’t have an account (and please stop asking, people!) 

It’s an interesting but academic metric, since I was selected for one. 

The current betting line is that the Silver Filigree will be offered shortly after the initial purchase date for Elsa, which is the 15th. Absolutely everyone seems to think it’s Hamilton, but as I explained before, I think he’s replaced Othello and Silver as the mold everybody guesses for everything. 

Not unless they’re going to be offering at least a thousand of them. Which is entirely possible, but I’d like to think they be a little more imaginative with their mold selections when it comes to Winter Decorator Horses. 

I’m going to take a wait and see approach to it, though. Even though I promised myself to keep my purchases to a minimum until the end of the year, somehow all these packages keep showing up on my doorstep, including one with the Bouncer Hope in it:

Hey, it was a part of a half-price offer through Good Morning America, and I threw in some of the Stablemates I didn’t already have (including those goofy Wooden Stables) to get the free shipping. At that price, I couldn’t afford not to buy something!

I was surprised how iridescent the Hope is: her “pinto” markings glow like Mother of Pearl. The box is interesting, too: apparently it was designed to minimize plastic in the packaging?

Although I am usually in favor of more environmentally friendly packaging, speaking as a quilter, the plastic sheeting I salvage from the standard display boxes comes in quite handy for cutting templates. 

Especially for some of the multi-pieced affairs I’ll be mired in early next year. (Imagine a hexagonal quilt with 18 blocks of 55 pieces each. All handpieced, because doing hexi quilts by machine is more trouble than it’s worth!)

I wish I could collect the Bouncer mold more actively, but with the Tom Thumb, all the Gloss Prize models, Bilberry and the Boca, I’ll just have to stick to the handful of semi-affordable ones, which includes…

(looks around the Internet)

… just the Pink Magnum, apparently. Well, so much for even that notion. Maybe there will be something affordable at BreyerFest next year.  

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Elsa and Other Madness

Just a general head’s up here, guys: I’m not in a mood to put up with anyone else’s nonsense for the next week or so. I’m not singling out anyone in particular – everyone in my orbit is being undelightful to be around, and I am going to be charitable and chalk it up to the season, both holiday and weather. 

The darkest times of the year sometimes bring out the darkest parts of us all. 

Go get yourselves some sun lamps, go for a walk, go fire up the Dremel drill and cut up a random body in your body box. Just do something besides getting yourselves riled up over something you read on the Internet. 

(In case you’re interested, I’ll working on an old string pieced quilt top this weekend, whenever I’m not toiling away on a work project.)

I like Elsa. I think she’d make a lovely companion to my beloved BreyerFest Celtic Fling Special Run Angus Bull Hamish. I would still have preferred any other animal (especially since she was already used for another Holiday Animal Special Run in 2017, the Gold Charm Eldora and Sol), but Breyer Cattle collectors are nothing if not devout and loyal buyers:

I do not care that they’re making 1000 pieces of her. I am uninterested in her future resale value: that’s not how I roll. If Reeves thinks they can sell 1000 of her, that’s their business. If they discover that they’ve made a mistake, they’ll eat the loss, learn the lesson, and move on.

I didn’t think they’d sell nearly 500 pieces of that black and gold polka-dotted Bighorn Ram, but they did. I didn’t get picked, and I know I wasn’t the only one. (I’m good, guys: I have no burning desire for one. Bunyan, on the other hand…)

Elsa is prettier, and glossy, and on a Cattle mold, so I understand some of the mathematics behind the decision. I am not keen on the price, but I suspect that they did not have enough bodies lying around since the last time they used her in 2017, and firing up an infrequently used mold is not cheap. (And also not something you do for a few hundred pieces.) 

If the increased production numbers manage to suppress the urges (or profit margins) of potential flippers, more power to them. It’s depressing enough to see so many people so willing to cough up such enormous sums of money for certain rarities (like the Ponies and Palm Trees Centerpiece Afgana, ugh.) 

Even though I’m pretty good at securing rarities myself, I also have resources and a knowledge base that is not typical of most hobbyists. 

I’d rather more people get what they want, rather than the same handful of collectors not only getting what they want, but dictating the market prices for the rest of us.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Try, Try Again

I forgot to mention my favorite purchase in my Black Friday Box of Goodies: the sparkly sequined blanket! That Extra Pearly Gray Jet Run I found earlier this year was the obvious choice to model it: 

I’m not much of a tack person – new horses always trump a new bit of tack – but I do have a hard time resisting sequins. And also glitter: I may be one of the few collectors out there that doesn’t mind the glitterized manes and tails of many recent Unicorn releases. 

I haven’t gone as far as adding glitter to my actual customs, but that’s because I, uh, rarely finish them? But let’s not talk about that…

Since I was in Florida at the time and trying to minimize my time in the mundane world (which was part of the reason for the trip) the announcement about the newest entrants in this year’s Toy Hall of Fame almost completely flew by me.

We obviously didn’t make it in again, this year. 

While I do not have any personal animosity towards the property or its fandom, I am slightly annoyed by Masters of The Universe getting in before us. 

Mostly because, for better or worse, MOTU has often been portrayed in a negative light in popular (non-nerd) as an example a cartoon designed to sell toys. As a lifelong advocate for a toy that (a) has twice as much history, and (b) has thrived in spite of a nearly non-existent media presence, it does sting a bit.

It may have also been complicated by the possible stigma of horses being considered a “girl thing”. Like it or not, “girl things” are often seen as of less worthy of inclusion everywhere in any discussion about historical or cultural relevance.

For what it’s worth, I do think we actually got fairly close this year; we might even be in the same position Masters of the Universe was in a few years ago. I saw Breyer mentioned prominently in several stories about this year’s entries, and I myself became a (very) minor Fandom phenom talking about it back in September. 

Where Fandom goes, public interest generally follows.

As far as what we can do to make it actually happen next time, all I can say is what I’ve been saying for years: do what you can to increase public awareness. If people ask you what your hobby is, don’t deflect: just talk about it like any other person talks about their favorite activities! 

The more familiarity there is of the brand, and the hobby, the more public opinion will turn to our side. Pulling in some of those stragglers might just get us over the finish line next time.

I know it’s a hard thing for a lot of hobbyists to talk about the hobby in public; it’s never been an issue for me because I was born weird and never recovered. But I also think not talking about it creates a self-perpetuating problem: if we don’t talk about it because we think people will think it’s weird, the fact that we don’t talk about it makes people think we think it’s weird.

(Now there’s a sentence to end a post on!)

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Treading Water

This entire week I’ve felt like I’ve been treading water. I’m sure if I went back and documented everything, I’d feel otherwise.

Let’s see: I completed one quilt top, finished prepping another, and I’m making good progress on a third that I want to get to the block stage by next weekend. So, not actually unproductive? Interesting.

Some of it is the season, I’m guessing: with my schedule and the weather, all the days are kind of blending together into one gray mass. And there’s the fact that I’m experiencing a lull in my social activities/travel calendar. Sitting in the basement and binge-watching documentaries, as entertaining as that is, is not really a good replacement for human interaction. 

Since I am in a bit of a mood here, I decided to open up all my blind bag Stablemates. First up, the three Mystery Horse Surprises (Series 3) that were a part of my Black Friday order:

I like the little Loping Quarter Horse, but why couldn’t one of them be the Ultra Rare Metallic Chase? Just one of those darn things, is all I’m asking for…

The local farm store that’s not Tractor Supply just got a box in, so it looks like I might be spending a little time there in the next few days fondling bags to find the remainders. The two I definitely need – the Icelandic and the Reiner – shouldn’t be too difficult to pick out of the crowd. I don’t know if I want to risk grabbing more of the Loping Quarter Horse, though; my luck doesn’t run that way.

How about the Merry & Brights?

Yay, two different! After looking at everyone else’s online, I was hoping for the Irish Warmblood/Corbin, because his color was super-neat, but I am not displeased with the ones I got. The metallic purple color on the Mirado is really pretty, and I hope they use it more often elsewhere. 

And finally, the Appaloosa Sport Horse on the Corbin/Irish Warmblood mold. I had found all of the other Stablemates in that assortment at one of my local toy stores earlier this year, but he was missing – and remained so, until he recently reappeared on the web site shortly before the Black Friday sale. 

He is very attractive in this color, I will admit, but I’m a little in the dark about why he, of all the Stablemates in that assortment, was the difficult to find one. Is it because he is showing well? I have no idea.

A lot of what drives the popularity of some of the newer molds and releases is a mystery to me, which is probably why I haven’t had as much success as others while live showing them. That’s something I’m thinking about working on, for the new year.