Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stud Spider's Wraps

Hey, look what I found in the rubble - my Stud Spider leg wraps!

These wraps came with a nice old Stud Spider I bought on eBay a few years ago. I’m pretty sure he was actually one of the original 1977 Gift Set releases from the J.C. Penney’s catalog; the model has all the hallmarks of an early piece - the more intricate blanket masking, and a neatly airbrushed short sock. (The original release of the Stud Spider has quite a complex series of subtle and not so subtle paint and masking changes - intricate enough that I’ll have to cover them another day.)

Here’s the picture of "Stud Spider" in his rocking red wraps, from the 1977 catalog. Note that the model isn’t actually Stud Spider, but an Appaloosa Performance Horse test piece stand-in. I’m guessing that the mold still wasn’t ready when the catalog photo shoot took place earlier that year.

The 1977 Christmas release was the only set where the leg wraps were actually included as a part of the Gift Set. They had been planned all along; they were specifically mentioned in the Spring 1977 issue of JAH, in an article discussing Stud Spider’s imminent release:

The sculpture of "Stud Spider" has been completed and will be available in a Breyer gift set. The set will include an informative booklet on Appaloosas and leg wraps for "Stud Spider". Look for "James Brolin’s Stud Spider" this Fall.

But they were not included in the subsequent mass market version of the #3080 Stud Spider Gift Set in 1978.

Why were they canceled? Was it a quality control issue, a safety issue, or simply one of cost? I have no idea. They’re pretty cheesy looking, so quality control is my bet.

Whatever the reason, it was obviously a last minute decision, because the leg wraps did make their debut later in that year - separately, as a special offer through the Spring 1978 Just About Horses. (The very first issue I received as a subscriber!) They were subsequently available through the Bentley Sales Company, and possibly other mail-order firms. I remember them being available for a number of years afterwards, so they obviously had a ton of them.

Yes, I was a dork and ordered a set, though I’m not entirely sure where they are now. Probably in that big box of miscellaneous Breyer tack lurking in my closet.

I don’t hold out a lot of hope of finding them in salvageable condition, if they’re still in there. I had to put the ones I received with my eBay Spider in a plastic sleeve with archival cardboard backing because they’re slowly and rather messily distintegrating. (Those black flecks in the background? Not dirt!) They were backed with foam rubber, and anyone whose had any experience with older Fighting Stallions knows that foam rubber doesn’t age well, even in the most archival of conditions.

There’s a chance that the leg wraps were bought separately and included in the auction by sheer coincidence, but the physical clues seem to point towards my early Stud Spider being a true 1977 release, thus making the leg wraps plausibly original. He didn’t come with his box or any other documentation, so I can’t be 100% sure.


Latter-Day Flapper said...

I would totally have ordered those. I made my own out of scraps of jersey, instead. Had about a dozen [hideous, tacky, 1980's] colors.

I'm sure if they were sentient, my horses would be sooooo relieved I've stopped trying to dress them up.

Anonymous said...

I make my own leg wraps out of real Vet Wrap bandages and gauze (to use under the wraps so model dosen't get stained). I cut them to the correct scale size of the model I'm making them for. You can make enough leg wraps out of one roll of Vet Wrap for all your models. And fairly cheaply as well.