Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Old Mold Stallion

The past 48 hours were rougher than expected; I'll just say that I'm feeling a little vulnerable right now. Nothing to do with you guys or the model horse world at all; if anything, this blog is one of the few things that's kept me from losing it completely. Words are one of the few things I have some control over.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The Old Mold Mare is easily the most popular topic on this blog: anytime I write about her, I get a steady stream of appreciative comments and e-mail. But not a lot of love or attention has been given to her companion, the Old Mold Stallion.

I’m not referring to the Family Arabian Stallion that he became, but the model he was before.

There isn’t much difference between an Old Mold Stallion and a run-of-the-mill Family Arabian Stallion. Except for the extensive remodeling of his male anatomy (which didn’t occur until much later) most of the changes that were made to the model now known as the FAS were subtle, and probably the result of mold maintenance over its 50 year history.

The only thing that really distinguishes an Old Mold Stallion from an FAS is the mold mark: the FAS has one, and the Old Mold Stallion does not. Some Old Mold Stallions do have a very partial mold mark - you can just make out the “MOL” from the word MOLDING, but that’s about it.

Old Mold Stallions come in the same variety of colors that the Old Mold Mares and Foals do: Alabaster, Bay, Appaloosa and Woodgrain. Most hobbyists don't go out of their way to add Old Mold Stallions to their collections, though, so it's hard to tell if any one of these colors is more rare than the others; if they do happen to have one, it's either by sheer accident, or because he happened to tag along with the rest of his family.

There's some evidence that the Old Mold Stallion is probably a little more common than the Old Mold Mares and Foals. While he's very similar to the large Hagen-Renaker Amir, the match is not quite as close as the Mare and Foal are to Zara and Zilla. Unlike the Mare and Foal, who were yanked from production until suitable replacements were created, the FAS was probably allowed to continue production uninterrupted throughout 1959 and 1960.

The Old Mold Stallion probably premiered in 1959, about a year after the Old Mold Mare and Foal; I often wonder why that was. Was he an afterthought? Cash flow issues? Did they have problems with the mold? Or did they catch wind of the impending trouble brewing in California, and make some preemptive changes to the mold?

That's all speculation: there's no evidence for any of it. It could have been something as simple as a strong sales report: if the Mare and Foal are selling really well, just imagine if we added the Stallion!

But how does one go about acquiring this creature, especially on the Internet, where photographs and descriptions of dubious quality are the norm, if not the rule, and the presence or absence of a mold mark is rarely noted?

There are a few subtle distinctions in the paint jobs that can provide clues. Alabasters tends to have lipliner, and (more rarely) muscle shading; Appaloosas have the fine speckle spots, butt blankets and charcoal gray legs with black hooves; Bay usually have lipliner and eyewhites.

(Your eyes are not deceiving you: this fellah really does have factory shaded "boy parts"!)

It's no guarantee, of course: the Stallion never ceased production, and the paint jobs were never completely consistent. I've owned Old Mold Alabaster and Appaloosa Stallions with paint jobs indistinguishable from a run-of-the-mill FAS counterparts. If you do notice these characteristics in a model-of-interest, though, it'd definitely be worth your time to investigate him further.


Stockstill Stables said...

You made me wanna get outta bed at 3:30am to go look at my old FAS. I hate insomnia, but anyway I have a newer one with the U.S.A. stamp.

Tehana said...

I have a thing for the old mold FAS's, I've only ever found the Alabaster ones, but they do have something significantly different about them, perhaps its just the paint job, but it just looks *different* to me.

PixelPerfectStables said...

This is such an old post I'm not sure if you get notifications for them? But I found an FAS in Honey bay with eyewhites, and he has a full mold stamp. He was sold with a honey bay foal (but no mare, sadly). Another collector mentioned she has one like this too. Perhaps these are tail-end, just before the lawsuit production models?