Friday, June 30, 2023

Sometimes a Cigar

Another quickie here because I do not have time for more:

In regards to the raging debate, all I have left to say on the matter is that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a biergarten is just a biergarten. So here’s a picture of one of my Cigars, the Connoisseur Series Wanderlust:

(He’s another one of those molds I have a lot of rarities of, and I don’t know why. But not the actual Cigar, for some reason.)

The whole concept of BreyerFest “selling out” tickets is a recent one: earlier ones didn’t “sell out”.  They would cut off ticket sales at some point because they needed time to make enough of the Celebration Model for everybody. 

They may well have attendance targets they want or need to meet now, and it’s difficult to calculate how much stuff to make, especially when it involves a couple dozen different things. In the past they made a certain amount of stuff and hoped that they would have enough for everybody: sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t. 

The only rough way to calculate that is based on ticket sales; you do a rough estimate of how many models an average attendee will buy based on historical averages, and divide by the number of models you plan to sell. And err on the side of caution of having a little too many rather than not enough, because when you don’t have enough, ooh boy…

Last year was a weird one because it had been a couple of years since we were all in Kentucky, and a lot of people still weren’t quite ready to attend large public gatherings again. I think the BreyerFest we know and love will feel a lot more like it did pre-pandemic this year.

But not the same. It’s never the same BreyerFest twice, and it shouldn’t be. 

Also: if you need to get in contact with me or relay some information to me, the easiest way to do that at the moment is e-mail. If you happen to have my phone number you can also call or text, but there’s less than a dozen of you with that kind of access so I know it’s not likely an option.

(Nothing personal if you don’t have access, I just don’t have the time or spoons for that level of social interaction.)

I do read the comments, but unless it’s something I can or should immediately address, I am probably not going to respond to them, especially in the next month. I am notoriously bad with responding to e-mails, but I do read all of them.

I don’t have the time to talk about the Bentleys today, but I will be talking about them in the next post or two.

And finally…

If anyone is up for a picnic involving karaoke, corndogs and light beer under the big tree in front of the Covered Arena some time Saturday afternoon during BreyerFest, I’m all for it. Wearing magenta is recommended but not required; any obnoxiously colored shirt will do. 

I can’t guarantee that I will actually perform any karaoke, but if I do, I want to call dibs on Nine Inch Nails. Just because.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Honestly, Just Relax

Boy, I walk away from the blog for a day and a half because I have a million and a half things to do between now and July 11, and then I log in to see 27 comments…

(Oops, 28 now!)

Look, BreyerFest is a convention, not a camp meeting. People are going to be doing all sorts of things there you may not approve of, including drinking, dancing, swearing, karaoke, eating corndogs and wearing the color magenta. 

I am not much of a drinker myself; I never cared much for the taste, plus I’ve rarely been in a position where I could drink freely anyway. (Always the designated driver, never the drinker….) Probably won’t happen for me in this case either, but like every BreyerFest, I’ll have to play it by ear.

Yes, BreyerFest is nominally a family-friendly event run by a company that is (also) nominally a toy manufacturer/distributor. But in case you haven’t noticed, at least half or better of the attendees are over the age of 18, and I assume most of them are know how to behave themselves in public and govern themselves accordingly. 

I don’t have a problem with Dad (or Mom) having a space off to the side to drink a couple cold ones and listen to some Bluegrass or Oldies while the rest of the family does horsey-type things. And yes, it also brings more money and more people to the park.

Maybe next year they can add a couple big screen TVs, VR/Video Game setups, some massage chairs, and change the name to “BreyerFest Spousal Day Care Center”. 

My Dad was a “Horse Kid” growing up as well and not much of a drinker either, so if he could have attended this event with me, he probably would spend a lot of his time at the Car Show.

(Long story: his Dad, my Grandfather, built engines for Nascar drivers in the 1960s!)

Car Show people tend to be fairly well-behaved, so the only concern I have about the Car Show itself is that it might complicate the parking situation. I’ll be more annoyed with it if it becomes a more regular thing, but we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it. 

They included it this year mostly because it fits with the theme, and again, the money. Car show people also like to linger and be their nerdy car selves with fellow devotees, which is good for the park because that means they’ll buy concessions and swag, and that also means more money for the park and vendors.

While a lot of hobby people are looking at it as a diversion for the bored significant other, it works both ways: I’m sure there are members of car show families who would be thrilled to find out that they’re going to BreyerFest for a day. 

That’s it for today. I just finished my preliminary BF Live showstring, and a few cuts need to be made. I also need to spackle some things. (Spackling during a thunderstorm? Not a good idea, folks!)

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Places (Not) To Go

Will I be able to get everything done that I need to get done in the next two weeks? We’ll find out!

As for attending the “memorial” event at BreyerFest, I am still undecided. As I mentioned in the last post, most of my bigger emotions are now packed into little tiny boxes in the attic of my mind, and I planned on keeping them taped tightly shut until I get to Wyoming.

BreyerFest is already a pretty intense event, so it might be in my best interest to stay away from things that might provoke yet another emotional outburst. (Everyone melts down at least once: the only question is whether it happens in public or in private.)

Speaking of other events I may not attend, I am utterly uninterested in the BreyerFest Car Show. 

Part of the reason why I go to Kentucky every year is to escape the local car culture. A half dozen car shows spontaneously happen in random parking lots around here every weekend from April through October (and once a month at work!) and they’ve completely lost their allure to me. 

I grew up around old cars, and I’ve already seen examples of even the rarest of them in person – heck, there was a local museum (not even two miles from our house!) that had a Tucker, and I had no idea it was that big of a deal until the movie came out….

It’s not something completely unexpected – I mean hello, this year’s theme is “Driving Forward” – but I have plenty else to do, so I doubt my presence will be missed.   

I don’t know most of the Social Media Influencers attending the Social Media Meet, so that’s also probably a no-go. I guess I’m peripherally a minor social media type person, but unless I hear otherwise, you’re more likely to meet me in my Room in the 300s clear on the other side of the hotel. (Which is Room 312, unless something goes sideways.) 

And I guess that’s it for today? I have some horses to pull out of boxes and pictures for various projects that I have to process, and every moment is precious right now. 

Here’s a picture of the Unpainted Sherman Morgan that I bought; I thought I’d be able to see some of whatever the problems were that led to the mold getting decommissioned and then retooled, but I don’t see anything obvious. 

It’s most likely he was tossed into the cull bin because the seams were poorly matched up in places, and were beyond the ability of the finisher to buff them away. Still a pretty neat guy to have, though!

This also means that, in spite of the fact that I am not the mold’s biggest fan, I own four examples of it pre-remodeling (all except Fashionably Late), and three post (Matte and Gloss Justin Morgan, and the 2014 BreyerFest Special Run Celebration in Silver Filigree.) 

Funny how that happens. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Blind Spot

I’m sure there are quite a few of you in the crowd that reads this blog that are familiar with the webcomic xkcd, and particularly number 1053, “The Lucky Ten Thousand.”

Basically, it’s about common knowledge: even when things are allegedly “common knowledge”, there’s a large group of people who – every day – learn about it for the very first time. 

I was a member of “The Lucky 10,000” today, but I am not feeling particularly lucky. In fact, I’m feeling sad, mad, bitter and a little overwhelmed right now.

Today is the day I found out Linda Walter passed away. Back in January.

Yeah, I am NOT okay right now. 

The worst of this experience is not the cruel irony of me being unaware of this news for five full months. Or the fact that I had a blind spot in my vision so large that an entire person, someone very important to me and my personal history, fell into it. 

Or that nobody even mentioned it to me even casually or wondered why I didn’t say anything about it before. 

When I don’t talk about a popular or trending topic it’s because (a) I don’t have anything worthwhile to say about it, (b) I’m legally obligated not to talk about it, or (c) I know/knew nothing about it. 

It may seem like I am all-knowing sometimes. But I am not, and it does not hurt to drop me a line and let me know. 

I haven’t been able to get around the Internet much this year for reasons I’d rather not discuss now, aside from my Paramount Plus subscription. (Because seeing an optimistic vision of the future is something critical to my mental health.) And I do not do Facebook because I already have too much drama in my life and that much social interaction sucks the life out of me. 

(A couple of you were kind enough to let me know about the APH situation as it unfolded on Facebook, and I’m grateful for that. You guys, specifically, do rock.)

No, what hurts the most is the fact that I only learned of this now: I simply have no time to grieve. My boss was kind enough to give me a day to process my rawest emotions, but now I have to put them back in a box and take care of all the other things I need to take care of over the next three weeks.

It’s only when I’m in some of those big empty spaces in between the places I’ll be visiting in Wyoming that I think I can unwrap that box and set them free.

“You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live.” 

― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables & Reflections

Monday, June 19, 2023

Familiar Faces

Just letting you guys know that we’re now entering my full-panic-mode-before-BreyerFest season, and things are going to get a little weird from here on out. I just cranked out about 3000 words for the Sampler over the weekend and I’m feeling no pain.

My left foot is another matter. (Long story, hopefully nothing.)

The new Mid-Year releases are both beautiful and oddly familiar. First there’s the portrait model Full Moon Rising, on the Strapless mold:

Her paint job looks quite similar to the uber-popular Bay Roan Sabino G1 Draft Horse, from the 2004 Parade of Breeds Set. 

Apparently that little guy shows really well; I’m just annoyed by the high price the entire set it comes in goes for. It came out back when I wasn’t being diligent about buying all the Christmas Stablemates sets, and now I will have to pay the price. 

The first realistic, Regular Run release of Fireheart, a Flaxen Chestnut Overo named Mojave, also looks very familiar:

His warm undertones, poofy hair and rugged chonkiness reminds me a great deal of the #3065 Classic Love Mustang Family Stallion, who was originally in production from 1976 through 1990. My example is quite the looker, and always shows really well for me. I think he has NANed at least twice so far, in very competitive Mustang classes:

Oddly, the Classic Mustang Stallion has only come in Pinto once and Appaloosa once in the past 47(!) years; Fireheart’s very brief production history has been much more colorful!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Everything Else

Another one of those all over the place days.

First, RIP John Romita, Sr.: Steve Ditko may have created his iconic look, but Romita was the definitive Spider-Man artist.

Second: what’s up with the price of knock-offs lately? I’ve been trying to pick up a couple of them just for novelty’s sake, but in some cases they’ve actually been selling for more than the Breyer mold they’re copying!

Or is just another case of everyone getting on the same page again and collectively deciding this would be a cool thing to do? I kind of get it: who does not love a Wee Western Prancing Horse?

But darn it all, I really wanted to get a few more of those Hong Kong Mini Me’s! Just another thing to look for at BreyerFest, I guess.

Third: I wish there was a better way of defining what names go with what molds. Reeves has been attempting to give molds generic, descriptive names, but the problem with that is that “Loping Quarter Horse” and “Working Cow Horse” don’t really convey the personality of molds like Latigo and Bobby Jo. 

And what happens when they come out with another, but slightly different Loping Quarter Horse? Do they start getting numbered at that point, or are they described by their size compared to the other(s)? That kind of naming scheme just replaces one problem with another.

Picking an actual name-name, or giving them a very specific descriptor or kooky nickname is just easier. Except there’s never been a real formula for this sort of thing, either: sometimes it’s the first release, sometimes it’s the most popular one, and other times it’s something hobbyists make up out of thin air (hello, Foalzilla!)

And getting everybody on the same page is hard, regardless. (Remember the Othello vs. Winter Song Wars?)

With older molds with already established names, I’d just do a gentle redirect with newer collectors: if someone at BreyerFest looking for Zenyatta, tell them your Lonesome Glory models are on the top shelf and to the right. Unless you genuinely don’t have any Lonesome Glory molds, or have absolutely no idea what they are asking about.

The only time I visibly got angry with someone over misidentifying a mold is when I had to deal with someone who repeatedly referred to the Desatado as the Marsh Tacky, several years and several releases after the 2013 BreyerFest Special Run. 

(In their defense, I’m not sure the kid was picking up anyone’s social cues.)

And finally, for the curious: the blog averages about 500 page hits a day – that’s for the whole blog, not any specific post – though the stats have been a little messed up recently because all US-based web sites are getting slammed due to overseas interference. 

More would be better, but I can’t complain. About that, anyway. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Model Horse Melodrama

Generally I’m not a big fan of Victorian Melodramas: it’s not so much the style that bothers me (though it sometimes does: it can be so emotionally exhausting!), but the fact that all too often it feels like I’m living in one.


(I picked up a small stack of these at the local flea market years ago, because seriously, why wouldn’t you?) 

I had a couple of really rough days last week and was feeling pretty low, so you guys don’t know how much it means to me that y’all are (mostly!) sticking up for me on this incredibly bizarre BreyerFest Test Color Adventure. I don’t know where this is going, but I am definitely not taking my hands of the wheel until the car comes to a complete stop.

As a minor reward to all of you, I’d like to point out that there’s a seller on eBay who has a couple of Unpainted Sherman Morgan bodies up for sale – the older lumpy ones with the turd-shaped tail! (They are listed as Mustangs, so might not come up in you saved searches.)

I know there’s lots of Shermie fans out there who might go for that sort of thing, history buffs who’d want a cull of an obsolete version of the mold because history, and Unpainted collectors looking for something rare and cool.

Anyway, moving on…. 

I’m going to be extremely busy for the next month or so, because absolutely nothing is finished for BreyerFest and beyond. This week I’m hoping to get the Sampler and its associated paperwork done, or mostly done, and then I can spend the rest of my time working on the live show stuff.

I am trying not to get too worked up about the show, either, but I want to at least not embarrass myself. And I am setting my sights pretty low for success: one NAN card, and 5 to 10 placings total seems reasonable, considering the size of the show. (Unlike a lot of shows nowadays, they place to tenth. Tenth counts!)

Any prize model would be a delight forever, but I am not betting on it. Two factors that do seem to have some effect on the quality and quantity of one’s placing are (a) spending big [I don’t] and (b) being lucky [for the most part, no]. Fortunately, the Overall and Reserve aren’t on molds that are must-haves for me, either. 

The color on the Roxy Tilbury is gorgeous – one I was considering for the custom of the Classic Quarter Horse Mare I’ve been playing with – but I prefer the loose mane to the braided on her. Most of Breyer’s newer braided manes just don’t do it for me. (Except for the ones on the Gabriel version of the Nikolas mold. Those are pretty adorable.)


The problem with the Big Ben mold is that he has a lot of unattainables in his back catalog, and they’re all the ones I want the most (Silver Twilight, Sonnet, Serengeti, the FEI Dark Bay). It is hard to get my hopes up when all I see when I look at Stanhope is the newest member of that exclusive club. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Oh, My Heart Again: The Sequel

Well, it looks like I have to completely rewrite this, again. 

Y’all probably didn’t want to hear me rant about my heart being slightly broken by the first BreyerFest Auction Previews. A Chestnut Splash Stretched Morgan AND a Glossy Pacer? Argh!

Or hear about me being slightly annoyed by BreyerFest going cashless. Mostly because that means I’ll have to add a trip to the bank to the already long list of things I need to do in the 24 hours I’ll be home before embarking on My Grand Wyoming Adventure. It is definitely a “First World” problem, I know…

(Also: I am still willing to bring along any stragglers with me! Me + Mustangs + Dinosaurs + The Actual Oregon Trail + Epic Scenery: what’s not to love?)

But apparently the treasure I owned in my heart for eight and a half hours has reappeared:

I am currently bogged down with personal and professional commitments for the next week or so, and consequently my Internet time is somewhat limited. This has also been posted somewhere I don’t go anyway (Facebook) so the whole discussion is inaccessible to me and probably moot by the time this gets posted.

Look, I would be willing to pay quite a bit of money to actually get him physically in my house: he needs to be home, with me, and you already know the reasons why. Just because I have the reputation for being thrifty does not mean I am not able to cough up the necessary money when I absolutely have to. 

One of the reasons why I am so cheap is so I can allow myself one big splurge a year, and I am more than willing to let this be it for the year. And maybe the next!

But I know it is unlikely: I also know how some other hobbyists are. This whole situation is all so awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. I probably have a better shot at that Stretched Morgan, and that would easily blow my budget for several years if I did succeed in placing the winning bid. 

And I would end up dealing with a different kind of uncomfortable: anything that breaks my standard 500 dollar barrier freaks me out a little, even if I do not actually pay that much. (Getting my Raffle Showboat home in 2000 was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying!)

Part of my plans for today included a little evil customizing fun with a Family Arabian Mare and a canister of Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty. I should probably log off now and do just that. 

In fact, I think I need to.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Stripping for Fun and Profit

Just some random ranting to start my day.

I knew it was going to be a dry year, but the ground is literally cracking, leaves are already falling off the trees, and I legitimately cannot remember when we had measurable rain (my birthday, maybe?) Ugh.

In other annoying news, I attempted to strip a Proud Arabian Stallion body I found loitering on my workbench. But whatever paint the original customizer slapped on him, it’s resistant to everything short of a blowtorch. 

At this point it’s about 50/50 of whether I’m going to toss him in my free box, or keep him on the workbench because dammit I don’t want him to beat me. But I have no idea what I would turn him into, and far too many projects already cluttering up my life. 

Anyway, I was sorting through a pile of ephemera I found while finishing up my saleslist, and and thought this box might be worth at least a quick discussion:

Many hobbyists make the blanket assumption that any obvious paint removal via acetone is an aftermarket alteration, but that’s not always the case. It was one of the many techniques used, especially in the Chicago Era (pre-1985) for Test Color experimentation. 

This was the era prior to use of adhesive die-cut stickers, and creating a painting mask was a very labor-intensive process. Before going through the effort, they’d sometimes paint up models and then apply acetone – they used it to fuse model parts together, so they had gallons of it – to remove paint and alter markings and patterns until they finalized the design.

And as you can see on the box for the Action Stock Horse Foal, these Test Colors sometimes made it onto the box, often to the annoyance of many collectors And very occasionally out in the wild; the irregular star on my Test Color Phar Lap, on the Traditional Man o’ War mold, is very obviously acetone-retouched. 

In case you were wondering, the opposite was also true, but somewhat less common: every once and a great while I’ll find a model that was touched-up at the factory with a hand brushed application of paint. 

The few instances I’ve seen have all been with solid black paint, which makes sense: no need to worry about subtle gradations of color or blending, especially when the acetone-based paint itself dries in a matter of seconds!

It’s pretty remarkable they manage to get the effects they do, working with a finicky medium like that. 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Black Points

Since I’ve been buying a lot of less desirable Collector’s Club Appreciation Glossies recently (the mule Buckeye is on his way!) the currently crop of Glossies has been less of a temptation, especially since my favorite of the bunch – the Black Brishen Sjoerd – seems to be everyone else’s least-loved. 

Conversely, I am not too keen on the Peptoboomsmal: I tried my best to love him or even like the Dundee/Australian Stock Horse mold –the 2022 Flagship Special Romeo should have been a no-brainer for me, for a couple of reasons – but I am having a hard time warming up to him. 

The other two are also very nice, but they are more in the like, rather than love category: the Morgan is pretty, but also pretty huge, and the Totilas is a bit tippy.  

So I took a pass on the offer this time. Maybe I’ll be able to trade for a Glossy Sjoerd at BreyerFest: I just finished my sales list and it’s definitely an eclectic one. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone to trade something for it!

My mind is on a dozen different things today (someone or something literally bent some of my metal garden fenceposts to the ground, and I have no idea how) so I’ll wrap up a couple of talking points from the comments and move on to other topics next time. 

The color on the Vintage Custom Black Stallion was not extensively retouched; if anything, he’s actually a bit darker than I received him, since I had a hard time matching his highlights. Any perceived brightness can be attributed to a fresh application of varnish and outdoor lighting. Like Reeves, photography is not my strongest suit! 

As for my opinion of the final disposition of the Test Color Appaloosa Performance Horse: I am assuming, unless proven otherwise, that the sale was taken private: there are always ways. The conversation about him that appeared shortly afterward may well have contributed to his disappearance. I think the fact that my other purchase – also a Test Color! – happened a few hours later, yet was not canceled actually strengthens this argument. 

A hobbyist who was genuinely concerned about the seller would have also seen the Classic and insisted that one be canceled as well. The fact that they let that one go suggests to me that it was someone who either had no idea it was a Test, or was a “high point” collector with little interest or concern for plain, Chicago-era Classics. (Or regard for what their fellow hobbyists think of them, too.)

Because an odd little Black Stallion with four stockings and gray hooves definitely doesn’t have the same allure as an early BreyerFest Auction Test Color that’s been “missing” for 30 years, or the same potential for a financial return on their investment. 

For the record, I am not a fan of “high point” collectors of any stripe: they tend to throw their money around rather carelessly, distorting the market in the process and make life difficult for collectors of more modest means.