Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Where's There's Smoke, There's Charcoal

I don't know what's up with the Cream & Cocoa Grazing Mare and Foal Set seen in the the JAH banner ad on Blab, either: my suspicion is that it's an end of the year JAH Special, probably (hopefully?) a Gambler's Choice, like so many of them have been lately.

This is purely speculation on my part: the twist here, I'm thinking, is that you could get any one of four different combos: Charcoal Mare with Smoke Foal, Smoke Mare with Charcoal Foal, Charcoal Mare with Charcoal Foal, or Smoke Mare with Smoke Foal. Four different possible combos, yet only 4 different models total: if you're lucky, you'd only have to buy two sets to get them all.

Breyer did offer these mixed combos before: back at the dawn of Breyer Time (1962-1964, to be precise) you could get mixed Running Mare and Foal sets: you get either get a Smoke Mare with an Alabaster Foal (352), or an Alabaster Mare with a Smoke Foal (351.) The Smoke Mare/Alabaster Foal combo were even used to illustrate the Running Mare and Foal in the Dealer Catalogs back then.

Other combos were available, too, but aside from the Decorators, none of them had unique numbers assigned to them. (If you wanted a “Chestnut” Running Mare and Foal combo, you'd have to write the number 124-134 on your order form, instead!)

Grazing Mare and Foal Sets were briefly available in 1965, and also came with their own unique numbers – 1411 for the Bay, 1422 for the Black, and 1433 for the Palomino – but I have no evidence to suggest they were orderable in mixed combos.

Again, this is purely speculation: with the Cream & Cocoa, they could simply be offering the single set, or maybe just the two different Smoke and Charcoal combos, or whatever. All we've got is a brief, tiny glimpse in a banner ad to go on. I don't know any more than the rest of you on this matter. Heck, the picture is so small, the Smoke might actually be a Honey Palomino! And if that's the case, the “Cream” part of the “Cream & Cocoa” name would make a little more sense.

By the way, there are no true vintage Glossy Smoke models: actually, it's probably better to say that I haven't seen any Gloss Smoke models I could conclusively call authentic. I've seen a handful of Gloss Charcoal models that could possibly pass for a somewhat-dark Smoke, but those are pretty uncommon. It is exceedingly common for a Smoke to be dark enough to pass for Charcoal – common enough that there's often little additional value attached to that variation.

It's probably a little too much to hope that they make the rather nuanced distinction in the advertising between a reproduction of a vintage Decorator color, and a Decorator color done in a vintage style. (And for the record, yes, the VRE Silver Screen Andalusian in Gloss Smoke bugged me a little, too – I don't want hobbyists going off on wild horse chases for models that don't exist. There are enough impossible-to-find rarities out there as it is.)

Ah, well, we'll find out soon enough.


Stacy said...

At my novice show this weekend I saw what I think is a very convincing glossy smoke prancer. It was a very odd model, and was owned by someone that I highly doubt even understands the concept of faking a gloss job. Needless to say, it had bizzare shading but looked 1000% OF to me. I should post pictures on blab or something. Either way, it intrigued me.

plastiqueponi said...

Wonder if their of them could be this year's JCP special runs....

plastiqueponi said...

Ok, that should read "either of them...".

Really, I CAN spell. Sometimes.

Anonymous said...

It looks to me like they both have pink feet... isn't that a no-no for the smoke color? :D It bothered me a little bit to see the smoke grazing mare with pink feet! I guess that makes her a very light charcoal instead!

ANDREA said...

Yeah, pink hooves on a Smoke is going to bug me, big time. I almost didn't buy a Tent Model Gloss Bay Mustang Sarsaparilla because his hooves weren't black! (His coloring was gorgeous otherwise, so I eventually caved.)

While I can't rule out the possibility of Gloss Smokes entirely, I'd still need to see it to believe it. Nothing personal, it's just that it's such a common and easy alteration that I consider all "rare" Glosses dubious until proven otherwise.

beforetheRfell said...

I have a glossy smoke Belgian on a lamp that was acquired from eBay a few years back. It is OF and the only vintage glossy charcoal I am aware of, but it would stand to reason that there was actually a small special run of them for lamps. Likely from around the same time as the glossy palomino grazing mare and foal lamps. If you'd like a photo of him for history reference, just let me know.