Monday, June 15, 2009

Seeing Stars

Sorry about that. My life suffered a temporary overdose of drama.

I had to deal with a death in the family, a divorce, major surgery, a grand opening, and a rescue puppy. (Not in that particular order, either of importance or happenstance.) The normal state of my existence is already at barely organized chaos: mix in all of the above, and it shouldn't be any surprise that the past couple of days have ended with me collapsing into the nearest available comfy chair.

And falling asleep.

This kind of simultaneously occurring weirdness happens to me from time to time, which probably explains my general avoidance of soap operas and reality shows. They all pale in comparison to what I have to deal with on a daily basis. I won't go into further details, except to say that I consider my hobby activities to be among my more “mundane” aspects of my life. And a very welcome one, at that.

I'll make up for it right quick. I have some unexpected free time this week.

I did manage to wake up in time Sunday morning to have a reasonably good day at the flea market – something I sorely needed. Neither my work schedule nor the weather had been especially cooperative in the past month, and before that, I had an unpleasant … incident with another collector that had mildly soured me on the whole experience. (No grabby hands while someone else is perusing the box of horses! Bad flea market etiquette, ladies, bad! Grr.)

While cleaning up some of the newest acquisitions for BreyerFest, I ran across another one of those “how could I have not seen that before” observations. Take a look at these two handsome boys: a nice, if run-of-the-mill Appaloosa Gelding, and a darker than average El Pastor. Notice something peculiar?

Yep, same star, used on completely different molds. For comparison, here's the star on the Chalky El Pastor I also happened to pick up Sunday morning (yes, ladies, he'll also be on the saleslist):

Almost all Breyer models show some variation in their masking, and several Breyers from the 1970s and 1980s are notable for their facial marking variations: the original releases of both the Yearling and the Saddlebred Weanling are actually quite notorious for it. (At least four known for the Yearling, and about …. a kajillion for the Weanling.) But I hadn't thought they actually reused painting masks on completely different molds. I always thought they were uniquely designed for each mold.

On Traditionals, anyway. Now, I had known for quite some time that Breyer had reused some of the star and blaze masks on the Classic molds, particularly the Racehorses, but I chalked that up to (a) mold confusion among the painters at the factory, and (b) the fact that the molds share enough similarities in size, shape and style that any minor inconsistencies in the fit could be compensated for. It never occurred to me that Breyer considered the facial masks on the Traditionals interchangeable as well.

But I just happened to have these guys standing next to each other in the bath assembly line, and there was the evidence, staring me right in the face.

It makes sense, though: those small masks could be easily lost or damaged, and it's cheaper to reuse what you have on hand than create another one. Faces are also relatively “flat:” issues of fit and overspray would be relatively minor. (Though minimizing overspray back then wasn't high on Breyer's list of priorities, either.)

This is one of those backburner research projects I'll have to get back to at another time (cf. “chaos,” above). I'll still have to work out attributions and chronologies: in layman's English, which masks originally belonged to which mold, and when they were used.

Programming Note: Since I am dreadfully behind on my BreyerFest preparations, a lot upcoming posts may be BreyerFest related, in whole or in part.

And re: the puppy. He's not here yet. If and when he finally shows up on our doorstep, y'all will be the first to know.


Christine said...


Becky Turner said...

isn't a mask just a piece of acetate with the marking cut in it? if so you would think they would be easy to make and copy if one rips.. if its not then how do they make their masks? how about a post about that when you do the mold one? or ? whenever/
Rebecca Turner

beforetheRfell said...

Paint can sometimes build up on metal masks and can start to change the shape of markings after even a few shots. Dunking them in acetone quickly cleans them off, but is a pain when you are trying to work. I learned this the hard way when I was looking at using an old style metal mask for a Stone special run. After only four tests of heavy black shot through the thing, the size, shape, and clarity of markings were already beginning to change.