Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Toe to Toe

Hmm. Those Summer Solstices are nice. And me with a decent sized check coming this week. Oh, the temptation! I really need to pay off the credit card bill first, though. And fix my teeth. And get new glasses. I could use some new shoes, too, come to think of it. Darn you, life, for getting in the way!

Another short one tonight: tonight's gripe is about the whining and carping about the Proud Arabian Mare mold. To listen to the neighsayers, you'd think the poor mold was little more than a misshapen blob with a slight resemblance to a horse.

Get over yourself. It's a slightly bent leg, not a fifth one:


The degree of bend on the newer Proud Arabian Mares varies from Paso-like paddling to near perpendicularity. Here's a slightly blurry but still legible front end shot of my J.C. Penney's XMAS SR Solid Bay with stripe, ca. 1983. I bought her from a very reputable collector, so I know there was no funny business involved:


I've gotten conflicting stories as to what was wrong or missing from the original Mare's mold when they decided to bring her back. Was it half the mold, part of the mold, or just the cooling boards? I don't know.

The most common explanation I received back in the day was that the cooling board fixtures were missing. These fixtures are essentially metal "braces" that freshly molded parts are placed in to minimize warping and twisting while the plastic is cooling. You can see pictures of some of these fixtures on page 9 of Marney Walerius's Breyer Models:


This bending occurs because Tenite is a semi-synthetic plastic, and is subject to even minor changes in the environment. The heat, the humidity, the quality of the plastic, the quantity of regrind in the plastic, what the mold operator had for dinner the night before can affect the degree of warpage.

Another potential source of the problem is the original source material: the large H-R Zara. As reported in Nancy Young's classic tome Breyer Molds & Models, some Zaras also experience the toeing out phenomenon. In reworking or recasting whatever parts were necessary from the H-R original, the flaw inherent in the Zara mold as it existed back in the early 1970s may have been passed on to her descendant, the Proud Arabian Mare.

I've gotten some flack from a few hobbyists upset with the suggestion that Hagen-Renaker or Maureen Love were ever capable of mistakes - it just had to be Breyer themselves who screwed up something of incomparable beauty! (Those idiots!)

A lot of hobbyists are all too quick to attribute errors - intentional or otherwise - to malice. A mistake or flaw isn't simply a mistake or a flaw, it's just gotta be deliberate ignorance or incompetence!

Nonsense. Mistakes happen. They just do. It isn't incompetence, it's the law of averages at work. Even the most talented, most competence people in the universe make mistakes. Perfection is not achievable. And what would be the whole point of having horse shows if it was?

3 comments:

GWR said...

Bent leg or not, I'll still take the old girl over the majority of Arabian resins currently on the market.

Becky Turner said...

I dont have any of the books on the breyer molds but Id love to someday when I can afford to buy one.. . I really would like to know more about the actual molds themselves and how they make them and cast them.I have never really seen any photos.. is there one mold or more? can you write about his sometime with photos if you have any? Id love to know more..
the pam is also one of my all time favorites and I have a body ( paint in bad shape ) I plan on doing something with someday... I have also noticed that leg too I think mines isnt straight..I'll have to take a good look.. but its good info to know.
Rebecca Turner
www.solticeartstudio.blogspot.com

Carrie Hiser said...

Do you have any feel for the degree of variation in the toeing-out for the PAF? All mine (older ones) toe out significantly. However, I saw once at a live show one of the newer ones (the black one) that did not seem to toe out much, and I've always wondered if the owner had "fixed" the problem herself or if Breyer had altered the molds.