Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some Kind of Blue

I love watching shows about hoarders: there’s something fascinating about the psychology of persons insulating themselves from the world with massive amounts of stuff. I have a lot of stuff, too, but it’s all neatly organized and contained, and I don’t have any issues with purging things when I need to.

Part of the appeal of those shows for me is that I’m currently dealing with a semi-hoarding situation at home: not me, but my family members. It’s come to a head this week with a long-delayed home remodeling project that includes the space in which I work, and keep the larger part of my collection.

Everything in those two rooms has to be removed, and much stink is being made about how much "stuff" I have. The fact that the rooms now being used for storage were already packed to the ceiling with everyone else’s stuff is irrelevant: the mess is somehow all my fault.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the progress was so slow. There’s no impetus to get the job done in a timely fashion; the only person whose life is being severely impacted is mine, and apparently that’s completely okay with everyone else involved.

I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. If the next few weeks - or months - of posts have a more somber tone than usual, now you’ll know why. The one small physical domain where I had a small modicum of control is currently not in my control. And I’m not happy about it.

I may be feeling a bit blue, but this Buckshot isn’t:

The Buckshot mold debuted in 1985, the same year I found - and purchased - this intriguing horse from Marney, at her post-Congress garage sale. He’s probably a cull of the original release of Buckshot; he has all the characteristics of a #415 Buckshot, except that his distinctive blue-gray base color missing.

I presume he’s a cull, and not a test color, because of something you can’t see in the photograph, and something I can only describe to you due to my current technical difficulties: he has a blotchy, blobby blue dorsal stripe. It’s not unattractive or unrealistic, but it was enough to send him to reject bin, and from where Marney must have rescued him.

What I can’t answer is whether he was discarded "as-is," or if Marney found him in a less finished state, and completed the job. She did a lot of that; many culls could be made passable with a touch of black paint.

What’s intriguing about this "accidental" test color is that he may have been more influential than many an intentional one. Within a few years, we had a number of Breyer production pieces in this color, including the #830 Quarter Horse Stallion (on the Adios mold) and the 1989 JAH Special Quarter Horse Yearling.

Breyer usually described models with these paint jobs - both the gray/black, and the chestnut version that slightly preceded it - as roans. But depending on the size of the spots, or the scale of the horse, they were also labeled fleabitten grays, or even Appaloosas. It may not seem like a big deal now, but they represented a startling change of pace from the almost comical "big freckle" roans of the early 1970s.

The problem was that they were not really a good representation of any of those colors or coat patterns. I think most collectors realized that this new painting "style" was a transitional step towards more realistic roan, fleabitten gray, and Appaloosa paint jobs. As Breyer’s painting techniques improved, many of these models from the "light roan" era have been dumped into the fickle, saturated aftermarket.

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