Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Confirmation Bias

I decided to skip out on the online show; I made so much progress over the weekend with all my other projects that I’d rather keep that momentum going, rather than get sidetracked by something else again. Photography is not my strong suit, and I would have obsessed over every single picture…

You know what? I’m skipping out on Santino, too; it’s not that I don’t love the Polo Pony mold, or that I have issues with the base warping (though that is pretty annoying). 

It’s just that I’m still just a tad bit overwhelmed with my leftover BreyerFest inventory. I haven’t even gotten around to getting all of the Johanns from last year (and affordable Bays are nonexistent anyway!)

I am still undecided on the Halloween stuff; I love all the Stablemates and the Classic too – I was not expecting a “Creepy Quagga” concept, and I really dig it! I have a little bit of time to think about those, at least.

In case I didn’t make it clear, I did get a Peanutine during my first pass-through the leftover line at BreyerFest. Mine just happened to be one of the perfectly ordinary ones:

Fortunately I was close enough to the front of the line that there were a few left when I went through, so I was happy to get one, regardless of the color. 

I was thinking about the Peanutine today because I made the mistake last night of watching some YouTube videos, and in spite of my impressive haul, I was still mad jealous at the people showing off Raffle Models, Volunteer Models, or even multiple Volunteer Models. 

This led to an extended internal monologue about what a terrible person I was for even going there in my head. I had to remind myself that for a lot of hobbyists, just getting a Peanutine in the first place would have been satisfaction enough. 

Would more be better? Of course! But sometimes you need to pause to enjoy what you do have and what you have accomplished, and not indulge in confirmation bias. It never ends well.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Final Accountings

I had every intention of going to a farm auction Saturday morning, but I got up and said to myself “Do you really need another adventure this weekend?” We had received an insane amount of rain over the past couple of days, so I had a wee bit of concern about roads and bridges not being driveable, too. 

So I finally (FINALLY!) got around to starting my post-BreyerFest inventory. It’s not completely done because there are a few things I need to make some decisions on. (Keep all three Stagecoach Surprises, or surrender one? Does Nemea stay, or go?) 

Hopefully I’ll be able to get to those remainders dealt with next weekend, and get my online sales started in earnest shortly after that. This week I need to focus on cleaning up the garden, since the rains (and the several hundred pounds of debris that came with them – long story!) did quite a number on it.

I also did the final accounting of my BreyerFest Live placings: 

  • Fifth in the Stablemates Collector’s Class
  • Sectional Champ: Unrealistic Color, Section 2 (!!!)
  • 4 NAN Cards: 1 Breed, 3 Collectibility
  • 23 total Flats: at least one of every color!

The flats total is a little deceiving, because some of those ribbons were what I call “pity placings”: low placings in classes with a low number of entries. BF Live is also one of the few shows that still does placings to tenth. Most only do to sixth nowadays. 

If you just counted the placings to sixth, I still got 14, which is still pretty decent, all things considered. Certainly far better than I expected, and better than that show I did last September that still occasionally keeps me up at night. 

I am most pleased by my Gloss Silver Bay Stoneleigh Surprise, who earned me the NAN Breed Card with a Second in a fairly large Morgan class of 45 entries! 

I sometimes take my Collectibility placings for granted, but never Breed. I don’t know if it’s just me and a consequence of my focus and buying preferences, but the judging standards for Collectibility feel less subjective than the ones for Breed. 

Oh, and if it is any consolation to anyone out there about my current run of luck, it’s worth noting that (a) it is highly unlikely I’ll see either one of the Tractor Supply Stablemates Chase Pieces, and (b) my luck on biddable eBay auctions continues to suck. 

What kind of crazy market is this that even box lots of busted up and otherwise undesirable bodies still go for a premium? Gah!

About that: since I was planning on doing some serious customizing soon, I was looking to add a few less desirable bodies to the stash to experiment with. Since I have a rather high rate of failure, I feel a lot less guilty tossing three-legged Hess Classics and Rugged Larks into my free box. Until recently, those kinds of bodies to be cheap, bordering on free...

It looks like I’ll have to make do with what I have, which is probably plenty. Should do an inventory of what I do have, while I’m at it.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Relief, Rather Than Joy

The month of August is continuing to mess with my head; all I will say about the week is that I am very much looking forward to the weekend, as it is the only time I am allowed to get anything done. (And this will be going away sometime in September. Busy season at work and all…)

I also wanted to be clever about this reveal, but since my time is extremely short today, I will just cut to the chase:

You know what was funny about this? When I opened her up, my immediate reaction was not joy, but relief. And frankly, sometimes the feeling of relief is better.

I mean, I am extremely grateful and stunned that I basically got almost everything I wanted out of this year’s BreyerFest (except a Raffle Model). But for the moment, I’m getting more satisfaction over the fact that for the first time in a long time, it feels like things might be going my way. Am I out of that darkly forested section of my life, at last?

My hope is that this eventually translates into something beyond these material totems. But for the moment, pretty horses will suffice.

(FWIW, she does have three or four noticeable factory flaws, but I’ll worry about those another day.)

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Showing, Not Telling

So I go away for a few days to deal with some stuff, and this is what I come back to?

Look, I absolutely detest the concept of both-siderism – the notion that in certain arguments and situations that everyone is equally awful – because 99 percent of the time, it’s not only is it intellectually lazy, it is also almost universally untrue. 

But let us all agree that both in-person and online BreyerFest attendees have the capability of being either terrible people, terrible to their fellow hobbyists, or both. 

I doubt there is a solution to the Special Run distribution problem that will satisfy everyone. We can make things better, but we can’t make it perfect. I’d like to think that what I proposed last time isn’t necessarily “the” solution, but might lead to some improvements. 

I am still working on my dissertation on the Best Customs Contest, but technical and work-related difficulties are holding me up yet again, with a little bit of bad weather thrown in. I’m hoping everything is better by Tuesday. 

(Laughs nervously.) 

To compensate, here’s a picture of the model that won me the Gloss RD Marciea Bey at BreyerFest Live this year: my Chalky Dapple Gray Hanoverian, who I bought directly from Horses International way back in 1986!

His name is Counter Espionage: that was his original name when I showed him in the 1980s, and I saw no reason to change it. I had gotten some advanced intel on him before he was officially released, and college-age me thought it was an oh-so-clever play on words.

(Countertops, get it? I know, just terrible....)

Since there are not any local live shows around here in the next couple of months, my heart wants me to enter the Online Open Show, but my brain is telling me otherwise; I’ll wait and see how this week pans out before I make that decision. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Second Chance Sale 2023

Looks like this week isn’t going to be much different from last week, ugh. Anyway…

Like everyone else, I also participated in the Second Chance Sale. Logged on at 1 p.m. on the dot, dropped the two Arabas I planned on in my cart, saw the Peanutines were still available and dropped a couple of those in my cart too. 

Then (big mistake) I poked around on the sales page for a moment to see if there was anything else I really needed, went to check out, and the Peanutines were cart snatched. The Arabas were still there, so I completed my check out and… that was that.

I went back to see if other “good” things were still left and there were, but since I already had everything else that I wanted, I walked away. The Speos Variant was not a must-have for me, and I was only going for another Peanutine because my herd is woefully deficient in rare Brighties, and just one would have been nice. (Seriously, Brighty collectors be crazy.) 

The only surprise about the sale is that people were surprised at all at the quick sellout. 

Uh, why wouldn’t it?

One: it was both advertised and highly anticipated. Seriously, everybody was waiting for this sale to drop.

Two: They allowed way more participants this year, including Online-only attendees.

Three: Everyone saw how much the Variants are going for, and they are not so rare that a gamble was not worth it.

Four: They allowed people to order up to two of everything, and not just one. 

As far as I know, the whole “But they allowed people to buy whole cases at BreyerFest” thing some people were grumbling about was not a significant factor, because that was only two cases total. (And the gamble the buyers took did not pay off: they did not get the Variant they were looking for.)

I also have a hard time mustering much sympathy for the complaint “But why didn’t they advertise the sale at BreyerFest?” They’ve been having these “Leftover” Sales since the beginning of the Special Run sales in the late 1990s. It’s not something they’ve really felt the need to advertise. 

Part of it is because the sale itself is so fluid: they never know what the situation is going to be like at the end of the event. Will there be a lot of models? Or just a few? Sometimes they limit sales to one per person, sometimes two but they have to be different; this year they allowed two the same. 

It’s true it’s been like four years since we’ve had an in-person Leftover Sale – last year there was a concern about the weather, and the two previous were online-only events – but all you had to do was ask any random Reeves employee. (Or me, same diff at this point...)

The only thing I would have changed in the online portion of this sale is getting rid of the option of buying two of the same item in the same transaction: the models with the Variants in them would have sold out regardless, and the one per customer limit per Special Run would have allowed more to participate in the fun.

I could see them pairing up the “one SR of each type” component with a one transaction per ticket/attendee limit, too. Then if there are any models left after that initial sales deadline passes, then they could have a “Last Chance/No Limits” Sale. Whatever is left after that would then go into Grab Bags. 

And if you didn’t get any of the SRs with Variants in them and only want the originally advertised color anyway, I suspect a lot of those will be up for sale soon, at prices not too far from issue price. I’ll probably be selling my Speos (bought it to help out a friend get the Variant, she got it herself anyway) and at least one (optimistically) of my Arabas for cost plus taxes/postage/etc.

That is pretty much all I have left to say about that matter, depending on the contents of my box....

Sunday, August 13, 2023

The Gray Areas

Still busy, but making progress, enough to take a moment and finish one controversy before I start another. So here’s that other thing I bought recently that you may or may not recognize, from that same seller I bought a couple of other “questionable” models from, and who very well may block me from bidding on items in the future after talking about this:

This Merrylegs was sold as a “Custom” and I suppose technically she is, but in the same way that a lot of Marney Test Colors from the 1980s were: being something painted (or touched up) at the factory using factory paint by someone who wasn’t directly employed by the factory. 

She was advertised on eBay as such because she has the dated signature of her painter, D’arry Frank:

D’arry was a good friend of Marney’s and sometimes accompanied her to the factory in Chicago to also paint things. Even though these models now exist in a kind of “gray area”, the powers-that-were at Breyer at the time gave them the same consideration – and sometimes, moreso – as the Tests and Variations created by the hourly or contracted employees.

The rationale for that being that hobbyists are going to try and paint things that they – and other hobbyists – wanted to buy.

Yes, this is a rather long-winded way of saying that she’s a Vintage Test Color, however we choose to define them. And even if I accepted the original explanation, it would still be a win for me, because I have wanted a custom by D’arry since the mid-1980s anyway!

The real question now is whose collection is this, really? This was clearly someone who knew what they were doing. And a seller (or assistant) who doesn’t quite.

(Still doesn’t make up for the Performance Horse, but water over the bridge, yadda-yadda…)

Friday, August 11, 2023

Gibson and Stuff

This is (not) my week: I have maybe fifteen minutes to spare today to let y’all know I am not dead. 

Apparently there are like a bajillion Special Runs for Tractor Supply? Considering I don’t think I ever saw a single blind bag Stablemate last year, my hopes are not high on seeing any this year, especially if my schedule keeps doing what it’s been doing. 

I might try for the Traditional Belgian “Gibson”: aside from being a vintage mold that I already like, and something I presume will be in much less demand, maybe he won’t be as hard to acquire:

But what the heck do I know, I wasn’t even picked from the waitlists for Oriole. On the Forever Saige mold that all the cool kids love to hate. 

(FWIW, I’ve pretty much given up on the whole “Birds of a Feather” Series, anyway.)

The only complication here is that I could see the mold being popular here locally because of Kirk Gibson. And since getting celebrities to sign models for me has been a theme lately, it gives me notions…

Speaking of notions, I was also curious why I hadn’t seen anything about the Best Customs Contest this year yet – since I’ve been contemplating giving it a go next year, mostly for funsies and to motivate me finish a custom for once – but then I did track down some of the entrants this year, and oh good lord...

I have words, and as you might have guessed, they are not going to be entirely nice ones. 

But I won’t have time for that – to write it, and deal with the fallout – until next week.  

Monday, August 7, 2023

The 1967 Pricelist

Another quick check-in; I had some unamusing, weather-related difficulties which set me back on my project a bit, so here’s a larger-than-average picture (click on it) of one of my favorite BreyerFest acquisitions this year, in hope that it keeps you occupied while I’m still cleaning up my mess:

It’s an original – not a copy! – of the 1967 Pricelist. These things are so scarce that most of us had to content ourselves with copies, or copies of copies, so this is a major upgrade for my archive. I was honestly kind of surprised it was still available on Saturday, when I found it!

1967 was a transitional year for Breyer; many older, long-running releases were discontinued at the end of 1966 to make way for the more realistic and breed-specific molds the market was now demanding. A year later, the first Collector’s Manual would make its appearance, using the same photos and duotone printing technique.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

My Life is Weird: Part 1,738

Just checking in briefly to acknowledge my existence; I have a ton of work to do by the end of the weekend, and noodling around on the Internet is definitely not on the agenda.

Oh, and remember what I said last post about:

Do I need to consider buying lottery tickets this week? Hit the casino? Troll eBay at 3 a.m.?

Uhh… if I just bought what I thought I bought, we’re going to have another awkward discussion about that thing we had many awkward discussions about already. Gah! My life is so weird…

To compensate for my obtuseness, here’s a picture of the Volunteer Model I acquired at BreyerFest this year, who is obviously not a Chevaliere and not Stanhope either (though I came closer to getting one than I expected this year; the fact that I had a model on that callback table at all is still blowing my mind):

This is the #711426 Sonnet, the 2006 Volunteer Special on the Big Ben mold that was, for all intents and purposes, a gift from a very kindly benefactor. I didn’t volunteer for the first time until 2007 (which was such a cluster of a year otherwise: disappearing headcase roommates, missing out on one of the best NPODs ever…) and then not again until 2011. 

I’m one of those people who doesn’t generally go out of their way to purchase “gift” models second hand – like Live Show Prizes or Volunteer Models – because the value of the model, to me, is tied to the emotional investment. If I didn’t do anything to “earn it”, I don’t feel like I need it. 

(I was told that I most certainly did “earn” the Sonnet, and happily took him in the spirit that he was offered.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’d certainly love to have some of them (looking at you, Gloss Bravour), but it’s not a high priority. And the way the market is right now, I can’t afford most of them regardless. 

(Seriously, what the hecking heck, people? Where is this pot of money you all are pulling from?)