Monday, October 16, 2017

The Pendulum Swings

And the hits keep on coming…

… though Fletcher doesn’t technically come out until next year, being the first Collector’s Club Special Run for 2018. This is just a pre-order announcement.

It’s interesting that they’re offering him in both Gloss and Matte, since offering that option with some of the Premier Club releases has led to some difficulties, especially when people start making returns.

Glosses run out, Reeves offers Mattes, people get indignant when that happens and then stomp over to their favorite corner of the Internet to gripe about what an incompetent bunch of doody-heads they are for not obviously making the entire run Glossy, because duh.


Part of the appeal of Gloss Finishes – separate from the “Ooh, shiny!” factor – is that it has been traditionally associated with Vintage models, especially the scarcer and more desirable releases of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The thing is that Gloss does not automatically mean rare. In many cases, it’s the Matte-finished variation of a Vintage model that’s the scarcer one. How many times, for instance, have you seen a #43 Matte Palomino Western Pony? Or a #71 Matte Walking Horned Hereford Bull?

(I got the former purely by accident, and finding the latter took… years. And years.)

And as far as desirability goes, Breyer gradually phased out Gloss in the 1960s due to collector demand for more realistic-looking models. Liking Glosses in the 1970s and most of the 1980s put you in the minority camp, for sure.

In other words, the pendulum swings. (Speaking of, someday I shall tell you about the BreyerFest where I walked around the hotel and bought every decent Chalky I could find, because nobody else was really looking at them at the time…)

I like a beautiful deep Gloss as much as the next person (that QVC Gloss Bay Justin Morgan Sherman is staring at me right now from behind my monitor) but some models look just as good – or better! – in Matte.

So I am fine with both options on Fletcher, though my initial reaction was tilted a bit in favor of the Matte. My guess is that it’ll be the scarcer of the two finishes too, but that’s only an incidental consideration.

I’m not sure if I’ll even be ordering – it’ll all depend on how well my holiday sales go. It’s a good thing they’re giving us until the end of November to decide.

Friday, October 13, 2017


And here comes another batch of goodies from the latest shipment from China…

I’ll probably be passing on the new Collector’s Club Special Run Cleveland Bay Griffin, though. It has less to do with whether I like the mold or the color (I like both, actually) and more to do with budget priorities, and space.

But mostly space. All three of the Cleveland Bays that I own currently are in storage because he’s a giant shelf hog. I can’t even think of adding a fourth until I finish the inventory/reorganization here.

Or much of anything, really: some of the deals I have passed up on eBay over the past few weeks have been killing me! And Markus is looking increasingly unlikely, simply due to logistical issues. And collectors losing their gosh-darned minds over the newest-hottest thing.

Older Brick and Mortar Specials are not that difficult to find in the aftermarket, and their prices have also not veered too far off their MSRP prices. The only exception to the rule has been the Sahran, but that is primarily because the Ashquar mold has not had a Regular Run release yet. Once that happens, I think his price and availability will fall back within the normal range for this category of Special Run.

As will Markus. Though I do not think we will have to wait as long for a Regular Run release of the Shannondell mold.

But back to Griffin. He is very similar to the 2008 JC Penney Special Run Palomino, who has a loose mane, no dapples, and different markings:

They really do like doing multiple versions of the same or similar colors on this mold, don’t they? A bunch of Grays, a bunch of Bays, and now they’ve clearly moved on to Chestnut/Palomino.

I don’t have much else to say today; I’m still trying to clean up a bit of the fallout from that rather messy start to the week. After that, I’ll try to do something creative, because I really need it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dapple Gray Stock Horse Mare: The Reboot

I’m a little short on time today (the past 24 hours – I can’t even, right now) so I can’t comment on the six new Warehouse Finds released today as a group. But this one piece though, I cannot let pass:

Technically, she’s a Reissue of the #761 American Quarter Horse Mare from 1999-2000:

…but with a somewhat different paint job. To put it modestly!

The Dapple Gray on the original #761 is quite realistically rendered, with smaller and finer dapples and extensive gray body shading. The “reissue” is more like the 1996 BreyerFest Volunteer Special Run Merlin – the Rearing Mustang, not the Resin Dragon Horse thing – in a form of Dapple Gray most of us would now classify as something in the “Decorator” family:

While Stock Horse Mare doesn’t have a huge fan base within the hobby, she does pretty well with the general public looking for a sweet, pleasant-looking Stock Mare. It’s no coincidence that she’s been featured in a number of Special Run Sets and Play Sets targeted toward those consumers, and always in strictly realistic colors.

Until today. It seems hard to believe, but this is the first intentionally non-realistic color on the Hess Stock Horse Mare.

And I love her so much. It’s like she’s covered in bubbles!

You have no idea how much I needed to see her today.

It was pretty tough not to buy her on sight, but budget says I better wait until the Stablemates Club piece gets released so I can save a couple of bucks on shipping. And maybe toss in the Black Bluegrass Bandit too, if that one is still available.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

QVC Justin Morgan and Candy Apple Bay

All those Calvin pictures are making it very hard to resist hitting the “Buy Now” button. And I’m really warming up to the Bay, which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering who is my favorite BreyerFest find this week:

A lovely Gloss Justin Morgan on the Sherman Morgan mold, one of the many Special Runs done for QVC in 2002 – and another one of my Saturday afternoon NPOD finds, box and all.

It’s funny that of all the Sherman Morgan releases that there have been – many of them being Decorators of the “over the top” variety – it’s this relatively sedate Gloss Bay that’s finally made me “get” him.

Or it could just be the color. One of the handful of Traditional Silvers that I’ve kept is the BreyerFest Special Run Valentino, who comes in almost the same shade of Glossy Shaded Bay.

I sometimes refer to it as “Candy Apple Bay” even though, ironically, I don’t particularly like Candy Apples. I’m more of a Caramel Apple person. (I am neutral on the addition of nuts, sprinkles or chocolate drizzle.)

I briefly considered putting him on my saleslist – I am dead serious about getting the horse pile up in the office under control, and almost no one is safe – but once I popped his box open again earlier this week, I knew he was a no-go.

I have only one other Revised Sherman Morgan mold – the 2014 BreyerFest Silver Filigree Celebration – but I doubt I’ll be going crazy trying to play catch up with the mold anytime soon. Too many of them are on the unobtainable side, anyway.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Calavera and Decals

It was too darn cold to go to the flea market Sunday morning, so I channeled that early morning energy into cleaning the office and reorganizing the storage boxes I ravaged my way through just before BreyerFest, searching for various pieces for assorted purposes.

And paperwork. There’s always paperwork to do!

While I didn’t get to see a Markus today, I did see a Calavera – the new Dia de los Muertos horse on the Ethereal mold. I was somewhat indifferent to the release initially – in terms of Decorator Ethereals, I don’t think much can top the BreyerFest Special Run Times Square – but the sample I saw at BreyerFest made me reconsider.

I had heard some horror stories about decal issues with the Calavera, but I didn’t see anything significantly wrong with the example I saw. There were the usual bits of overspray and rough edges you’d see on any of the more complex paint jobs, but the decaled areas looked clean and smooth to me.

I left him behind, for a couple of reasons. Aside from wanting to stick to my budget, future condition issues were weighing on my mind. Extensive decals are a relatively new decorating technique, Breyer-wise, and how well these models will age is unknown.

The earliest decaled Breyer, incidentally, was in the 1950s: some Breyer Canadian Mountie sets sport tiny Drewrys Beer decals on their saddle blankets. Whether it was a formal Special Run that was produced at the Breyer factory, or something that Drewrys cobbled together for their own promotional needs, I don’t know.

If Breyer did manufacture it, Drewrys would be one of a small handful of companies/licenses that have done/did business with both Breyer and Hartland. (Hartland did a lot of promotional beer signage, including Drewrys.) Another topic to add to the research list!

I don’t have the Drewrys Mountie, but I’d love to get one eventually: my step-grandfather was a delivery driver for Drewrys, way back when. You’d think our proximity to Canada would make finding Canadian Mountie memorabilia a little bit easier to find, but alas, this isn’t so.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Arrivals and Departures

The Calvins look great, the Goblins really do glow purple, and the Markuses are just arriving in stores, too. Alas, I won’t be in the vicinity of a Markus-participating store until Tuesday, at the earliest.

And then there’s the Premier Club Duende.

You already know I was not overly enthused by the arrival of yet another Andalusian to the Breyer line, when so many other breeds and types are underrepresented, poorly represented, or not even represented at all.

But as to the Duende mold itself, I think I still need a little more time to collect my thoughts. To be honest, I haven’t really had much time to give him much thought at all...

The biggest Breyer-related news of the week, of course, is not an arrival but a departure – that of longtime Breyer employee Kerstin Chalupa.

I probably knew of her a little bit before everyone else in the hobby only because my local post office had a habit of misplacing my Just About Horses on a rather frequent basis. So a month or two after the issue was mailed, I’d find myself call Kerstin again to get a replacement issue mailed to me.

(The local post office had no problems delivering any other of my periodicals. A most curious situation, it was.)

It was always a delight whenever I’d call Breyer about something else unrelated to the location of my current issue of JAH, and hear Kerstin’s cheerful voice on the other end of the line.

Aside from the fact that I knew that that meant whatever problem or issue I was having would be promptly resolved, it was also reassuring just to hear her familiar voice.

As some of you may know, I suffer from telephonophobia: it’s much better than it used to be, but you’re not going to get a phone call from me “just to talk” anytime soon!

Having someone familiar at the other end of the line is always a help, and a comfort. And now one of those someones at Breyer is going off to a happy retirement.

Don’t be a stranger, Kerstin – I’ll always take your call. Even just to talk!

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Nope Reeves, can’t make me…

I just can’t do it right now, guys. The budget says no to Calvin!

Actually, it’s more like my budget is laughing and then pointing out to me that if I really want one, I should just wait a few months when everyone who was hoping for the “Metallic Interference Blue” one tries to sell off the Bays and Chestnuts they got instead.

In the case of the previous Gambler’s Choice Classic Scotty, all three colors were more or less equally desirable: that was sort of the whole point of offering him as a Gambler’s Choice, since voting didn’t produce a clear winner.

However, the BIS Quarter Horse is not a Love Classic, and the only color that’s generating any real passion is the Blue one. (Am I the only one thinking that Metallic Interference Blue is going to be the next Silver Filigree?)

Don’t get me wrong: I’d love a Blue Calvin, too. I’ve done my share of futile blind bag groping at Tractor Supply, searching for the G4 Endurance Arabian. (When I’ve actually found any Blind Bags to grope. Sigh.)

But I really do need to focus on other things, budget-wise, and there are still a couple of recently purchased packages sitting here in the office that I haven’t gotten to opening yet, anyway. Including a grail, yeesh!

Incidentally, I am absolutely fine with the use of the Best in Show Quarter Horse; the original release’s scary bald face threw me for a loop, but the #931 Dark Bay Roan finally won me over.

Of the three “Best in Show” Classics – the Quarter Horse, the Arabian, and the Thoroughbred – it’s the Quarter Horse that’s had the most releases so far. Save for the original release and the Bay Roan, almost all of them have been Special Runs.

Only the 2010 Tractor Supply “Famous Sire” Series pieces are particularly difficult to find, though. I kind of regret not picking up the Appaloosa Prince Plaudit set when I had the chance. I’ve had some luck finding TSC Specials at the flea markets around here, so I won’t give up hope just yet.