Saturday, June 27, 2009

Idocus and the Replacement Theory

Wow. I won a Valiant - third Connoisseur in the last six tries, and with just one subscription, too! Wish that kind of luck would rub off on the rest of my life.

I wasn’t all that impressed with the Idocus resin I saw at BreyerFest last year - he was pleasant enough, but seemed a little stiff looking. I finally got a look at a plastic one in person a few months ago, and changed my mind: being molded in plastic actually improved him. (Though I know some sculptors will never, ever admit that’s the case.)

He’s like the Trakehner mold’s sexier brother with a better haircut. Mon-el to Superboy, in comic book geek-speak. (With Smallville renewed for two seasons, there better darn well be at least one Mon-el episode in the works. But I digress…)

With the Idocus, though, I am reminded of something I call my "Replacement Theory": every so often, Breyer either consciously or unconsciously "upgrades" a model with an entirely new, but strikingly similar one.

The first "replacement" mold was the Western Prancing Horse: he "replaced" the Fury-Prancer. The Fury-Prancers were discontinued in 1961, and the WPH came out in 1962. They’re similarly posed, have molded on tack and removable saddles - and even their names are similar!

The second "replacement" mold was Man o’ War: he "replaced" the Race Horse. The Race Horse was discontinued in 1966, and the Man o’ War debuted in 1967. They’re both standing chestnut Thoroughbreds with molded on halters, neatly groomed manes and long tails. And the Man o’ War’s original name: Race Horse ("Man o’ War"). Here's a scan from the 1968 Collector's Manual:

Cue the spooky music!

See where I’m going with this? Is Idocus the "replacement" mold for the Trakehner?

Probably not, only because I don’t think the original Trakehner mold is going to disappear down the memory hole like the Fury and Race Horse mold did when they were replaced. (The Fury mold did continue on its own for a few years after - but only as the Fury, and that may have been a contractual thing.)

The original Trakehner mold, as far as I know, is just fine - physically, and aesthetically. What’s going on here is that Reeves is just adding another standing Warmblood to their repertoire - something in a sleeker, more modern style, much like the Rejoice was sort of an updated and more modern looking Saddlebred-like horse to complement the Five-Gaiter, who certainly hasn’t disappeared. (Hello, Gala!)

(No nattering about how neither one is a good representative of a Saddlebred - work with me here, people! We’re talking a matter of type, not quality!)

This isn’t my only silly Breyer theory. Most aren’t worth talking about, though, or even have much relevance to discussions of history. Though I might get around to discussing the "15 Year Rule" eventually, since the flea market season is in full swing…


Christine said...

Congrats on being drawn for one. I liked him. The first thing that sprung to my mind was an updated Trakehner when I saw him in person in bay.

And I agree with you on the ASB thing. I owned ASBs and I worked in a Saddlebred barn. These aren't all that realistic in my mind. I can understand why the 5-gaiter looks like he does though. I worked with World Champion Blazing Fire and he went from a horse to a compacted machine with the touch of the reins. Didn't look like the same horse but he sure took your breath away.

Christine said...

Oh, and I have to say I am a big fan of the old race horse. He is so homely he is cute. I got one real cheap at an antique mall and named him "Blind Date" because he is what we are all afraid to find at the door (homely, plain, even ugly) yet we all know he has a heart of gold. At least mine does ;).