Friday, July 18, 2014

MLP Fair 2014 Recap

Well, Roomy and I are back in the land of cats and comfy couches after our annual Fair trip.  I think I can honestly say that, in spite of a few travel snafus, this might well have been the best Fair yet.

We arrived in Nashville shortly before the Hall of Fame dinner on Friday evening (an improvement on last year, when we came screeching into the parking lot half an hour before the dinner began).  The dinner was great fun, with a presentation created by the lovely and talented MustBe Jewel that you can check out here. The food was amazing again this year, and it was so lovely to see Bonnie Zacherle and Liz Knight, two creative women responsible for the creation of MLP, honoured that evening.
The next morning we were up bright and early for vendor set-up starting at 7am (thank goodness we'd jumped a timezone and it was really 8am for us!)  The vendor set-up took us longer than usual in spite of the fact we had only one table this year (or perhaps because of that).  At 10am the doors opened and the Fair was officially underway!
My booth, prior to adding ponies
This was the biggest MLP Fair by far, with activities taking place in six rooms (I never even made it into some of them).  Over 1000 people were in attendance, with 100 vendor booths as well.  Along with the usual contests, there were panels on customizing, Nirvana (Argentina) Ponies, and the Hasbro Q&A.  There were special events with the special guests, an opportunity to check out some new products not yet in stores, a pajama party, and, of course, the trivia competition.  There were also lots of games attendees could take part in, with the chance to win prizes and raffle tickets.
Trivia finals + Fair Staff
To be honest, I didn't get to half of the activities I would've liked.  This was mainly due to the fact that I wanted to spend the better part of the first day shopping.  The Fair is where I do the better part of my pony shopping for the year, and there were a few things I knew I didn't want to miss out on!  There were also some wonderful surprises, such as several Factory Sample ponies up for sale that Liz Knight had held onto.  I was lucky enough (and thrilled) to add a Factory Sample Peachy to my collection.
My Factory Sample Peachy
As usual, the contest entries were excellent.  I think the costumes get better every year.  The customs were fantastic, and I was excited to see Colorscapesart's working carousel in the Hasbro-inspired contest.  I was happy that my Aurora took second place in the Original custom contest.
Gypsy as the Smooze! - 2nd place in the most creative category
Colorscapesart's working carousel won the Hasbro Custom competion, surprising no one
As always, the Fair staff did an amazing job putting together a fantastic event.  I'm always amazed at how the staff manages to run such a large event with grace and poise every year, no matter what gets thrown in their way.  Their dedication and good humour is most appreciated by the community, and I hope the organizers know just how much we appreciate them.  The volunteers also deserve a round of applause for helping to keep things running smoothly.
We spend so much time looking forward to the Fair, and the weekend seems to fly by.  I'm already looking forward to hearing where next year's event will be held, and getting back together with my Pony Friends again.  Pony Summer Camp is the best summer camp.
My 2014 Fair haul
You can see the rest of my pictures here.  Until next year,

Elf

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fair contest entry - Aurora

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not at the MLP Fair right now, and for that I’m sorry.  But in the meantime, you can have a look at my custom entry for the General custom contest: Aurora.
sorry for the orientation - photobucket is being uncooperative
Aurora started as a pink Celestia Fashion Style pony.  Obviously, she’s been fully repainted, and she’s sporting two different aurora borealis patterns on each side of her body.  Her hair is Dollyhair nylon in *deep breath* Black Magick, Mulberry Crush, Arctic Frost, Pussycat, Pacific Ocean, Sugarplum, Venom, Candy Kiss, Envy, Unlucky Clover, Mermaid, Brambleberry, Heartthrob, and Key Lime. *whew*
I’m so pleased with how both of my contest entries turned out this year, and I hope you enjoy them too.
Elf

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fair Contest Entry - Rodeo Applejack

Updating a bit late this week due to a road trip into a hurricane (ok, tropical storm) and a lack of power at the other end.  Now we're back home with just two days left before we leave for the MLP Fair!

In the meantime, I’m going to showcase my contest entries over the next two weeks on the blog.  For the first time, I’ve got an entry in both the Hasbro and General custom categories.
This week, I’m showing the Hasbro category custom.  Say hello to Rodeo Apple Jack!
Rodeo AJ’s base was a G3 Strawberry Swirl.  Her saddle, blanket, bridle, and award ribbon were made using Apoxie Sculpt.  She was given a full body repaint, and her new hair is Dollyhair Golden Delicious.
I tried to bring various elements of all the various Apple Jacks into this custom.  Her basic design is based off the G1 AJ.  As an additional nod to my favourite generation, her bridle and saddle are modeled after the G1 saddle and bridle that came with the Show Stable.  G3 Apple Jack is represented in her pose, as well as the checked pattern of her saddle blanket which mimic’s G3 AJ’s symbol.  Finally, G4 is represented by the hairstyle, as well as the concept of the custom – who was inspired by the FIM episode “”.  I had to give her the 1st place ribbon, though.
Hope you like her,
Elf

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Down to the wire - MLP Fair prep

It's only 12 days until the MLP Fair.

I've had to drop several projects that just won't get done in time, but overall the prep is going well.  The ponies are packed, the accessories are packed, and the booth decoration is nearly done.
G3 and G4s packed
This doesn't mean I've stopped panicking.  Oh no.  There's still tonnes of important stuff to do, like finishing my contest entries for the custom contests, getting signs made for the booth, printing all the tickets, planning our itinerary...the list goes on.
Now everybody's in there
The luggage is lined with a sheet this year, since last year the ponies got some black marks on them from the suitcase.  First time that's happened, hopefully the sheet will prevent a repeat performance.
So many accessories, with Wooley for size comparison
Roomy has to clean out the car, or everything is not going to fit.  And we need to do a mock-up of the booth to make sure everything goes together well.

We're not done yet!

Elf

Friday, June 20, 2014

How much money is in vintage toys?

I've been hosting panels at conventions over the last year or so with Roomy, and sometimes Stormrave, on the broad topic of collecting including budgeting and tips on how not to get in over your head.  We've also talked about whether or not you can expect to make money off your collection.

The short answer, my friends, is no.

If you've gotten into vintage collectibles only to make a windfall, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.  I'm not saying you can't make money reselling, or that you can't finance your personal collection through reselling, what I'm saying is, you're going to be unlikely to find a $2000 vintage MLP for sale for 50 cents at a yard sale.

A certain buzzfeed rewind list (first posted on July 15, 2013) would have you believing differently.  33 Of Your Childhood Toys That Are Worth a Fortune Now would like you to think that selling the 1980s toys you've got gathering dust in your parents' basement or attic can net you enough money to pay for your dream vacation.  Shall we look critically at those prices and see how likely that scenario is?

Buzzfeed missed MLP on their list of 33 expensive 1980s toys (Philistines) so let's pay a visit to Roomy's side of the Geek Cave and look at #7: Princess of Power Action Figures.  The image they chose (re-created below) is of a Starburst She-Ra and Crystal Swiftwind set, an expensive POP set, true, but is $749.99 a reasonable price for it?
To check out how reasonable this price is, I'm going to ebay.  On June 19th, 2014, I searched for "princess of power crystal swift wind" and specified "completed listings" in my criteria.  This will bring up any recent auctions that have finished, whether or not they've sold.  My search returned 25 matches.  Of these, 15 had sold (several were for individual wings only, for $8.00 USD).  Only one auction was for the same set as the above, with some damage, and it did sell, but the end price was $297.50 USD.  The next highest price for a sold item was a loose horse, with all accessories, for $52.99 USD.

A search for "princess of power starburst she-ra" returned 34 results, with only 19 sold.  Aside from the gift set, the highest successful sale was a MOC doll listed at $99.99, but sold at less than that through the "best offer" process.

The main issue with the buzzfeed list is that it looks only at the asking price of auctions, not at the ending price.  As you can see from my above searches, a seller can ask for a certain price, but that doesn't mean he's going to get it.  More often than not, I've seen ebay auctions for good, clean MLP that have ridiculously high starting prices.  The same is true for any vintage toy (go do the same search on any of the other toys listed...I'll wait here).

Is this a problem?  At best, it gives collectors who know their toys' values something to laugh at or gripe over.  At worst, it causes new collectors to overpay for an item and regret it later.  Perhaps most frustrating, it gives the impression that all vintage toys are worth hundreds of dollars, regardless of condition, completeness, or how common they are.  This makes it harder for collectors to obtain their toys as non-collectors price themselves out of the market, and can also imply that collectors are gluttons, spending ridiculous amounts of money on little plastic toys.  It's not something I enjoy seeing.

Elf

Saturday, June 14, 2014

27 days to go and I'm still cleaning ponies

As the title implies, we're in full blown panic mode over here!
dirty G3 ponies
However, the G3 trade/sale ponies are now all shiny clean and ready for their new homes!

It's the bigger projects like this that worry me.  Rehairing customs I can get done here and there in the evenings after work.  Packing can get done here and there too.  But if I'm going to clean 50-odd ponies, I'm going to get it all done at once rather than dragging all my supplies out every couple of days.

I don't normally style my trade ponies' hair (other than to wrap it around their neck/leg to keep it tidy) but seeing as I had several G3 Pinkie Pies, I thought it might be fun to style one of them as G4 Pinkie Pie.  Well, at least it amuses me.  You can see her with her curlers in the upper right corner of the picture below.
clean G3 ponies
There's still the booth display to finish, customs to finish, and trade/sales stuff to organize and price.  One of these years I'm going to take a day off work before the Fair so I can get all this done!  ACK!

Elf

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chibi Medley

I always like to have some new customs for sale every time I go to a convention.  I haven't done a chibi pony in about 6 months, so I figured it's about time.
Chibi Medley was a G3.5 Starsong when she started out.  She's one of the versions with the switchable mane, so her mane has been permanently glued into place.  She's been fully repainted to match G1 Medley, right down to the shimmery green notes of her tiny symbols.  She also has blush on her cheeks, just like the original.
Had a hard time getting pictures of her that accurately show her colour.  The pic below is accurate (but sadly blurry).

Elf