Friday, May 8, 2009

The Numbers Game

I’ve been fixating on the numbers again. This time it’s mold numbers.

(To let you know where I’m coming from with this: I have always been easily bored, and obsessed with numbers. I spent a week in middle school memorizing the value of pi to the 22nd place. For fun.)

To clarify: mold numbers are different than model numbers. Model numbers are the numbers assigned to individual releases of a mold - special run or regular run - while a mold number is the number assigned to the mold itself.

You can occasionally find Reeves referring to mold numbers on their web site, in their promotional materials, or in intra-office documents. These numbers exist more for their internal organization purposes than anything else: instead of having to refer to each mold by a specific name, it’s assigned a basic numeric or alphanumeric designation. It’s not Adios, Best Tango, Clayton or whatever: it’s mold 50. Short, simple, and easy to type into a spreadsheet.

(Alphanumeric numbers - i.e. 3155MA, for the Nursing Thoroughbred Mare - are primarily used to refer to molds whose initial release came in family or group sets, regardless of their scale or series.)

There’s no consistent logic to the mold numbers. It could be the number the first regular run model number it was released as - such as 31 for the Fighting Stallion - or the earliest number in the series of release colors. For example, the mold number for our old friend the Quarter Horse Gelding is that of the Chestnut Appaloosa: 97.

The Gelding mold also brings up another interesting point: the mold numbers weren’t automatically assigned to all of the earlier molds as they were created, but at a later date. The Appaloosa Gelding wasn’t released until 1971, about a dozen years after the mold’s initial release as 99 Gloss Bay, ca. 1959. That number is assigned, instead, to the Appaloosa Performance Horse mold, who didn’t make his debut in 1974.

Some molds do seem to have been numbered early: the Boxer and the Lassie are mold numbers 1 and 2, respectively. You’d think that if any molds would have gotten those designations, it would have been the Western Horse and Pony, but nope. The Western Horse is 57, and the Western Pony is 45. They don’t jibe with the "earliest number in the series" rule, either. See the kind of "fun" I’m having with this?

Even the molds that have never officially had any individual regular run number assigned to them (beyond general assortment numbers) have mold numbers. The illustrative example here would be the G2 and G3 Stablemates: the mold numbers in those cases are just entirely made up. (They all appear to be in the 5600 range, BTW.)

Since these numbers are either completely random or fairly predictable, I doubt there’s much historical benefit to researching them, unless you’re trying to impress your friends or interpret Reeves intra-office documents. There might be a little bit of data to be gleaned from these numbers if you look hard (i.e. obsess over it) enough, though. If the Boxer was 1, and Lassie was 2, was Rin Tin Tin 3? (Lassie and Rinty appear to have both been released in 1956, hence my line of logic.) Was the assignment of these early mold numbers a factor in the numbering sequence of the early Family Arabian releases, or just a coincidence?

(See the kinds of things I obsess over? I know, I know, that’s why you’re here.)

There’s one possible practical application to this madness: I can foresee a use in creating numerical designations for early special runs that were not given official release numbers, using the mold number as a type of prefix or suffix. Other than that, though, it’s just another obscure bit of data to collect, track and obsess over.

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