Thursday, May 13, 2010

What Dumpy Revealed

What is the exact relationship of the In-Between Mare to the Family Arabian Mare? It’s generally been assumed that they were two separate and distinct molds, but Dumpy’s Delicate Condition - and what it reveals - points towards a more complex situation:

It’s a little hard to see (mostly because of my subpar photography skills) but there’s an extra mold seam line on her posterior, right where the tail comes closest to the rump. It intersects with the other seam line running down her right hind leg, creating an elongated "bubble" shape.

It’s most peculiar, because there’s no reason for it to be there that I know of. While the area itself is a little on the tight side, it’s not so tight that it would require special gating to get it to mold properly.

My first thought was that it was a repair. There’s an irregular seam line on the inside of the left hind leg that’s obviously the result of a crack or some similar damage; maybe this little "bubble" is evidence of another repair?

A repair - or a remodel?

Now is a good time to revisit the FAM/IBM/PAM tail comparison: here’s the handy little illustration I created to help clear the inexplicable confusion between these three old ladies:

Notice how the tail of the In-Between Mare touches her rump, then swings back out? The point of contact for the tail is in the same position as the bubble seam on the Family Arabian Mare.

Well, isn’t that … interesting.

Does that mean that the Family Arabian Mare mold is actually the In-Between Mare mold - just heavily remodeled, a la Halla/Bolya? Or did Hess take an In-Between Mare (either the original sculpt, or a casting from the original mold) and continue reworking it until they settled on the Family Arabian Mare’s design, and cast a new mold from that?

The smoothness and regularity of the bubble seam suggests a mold remodel, rather than a resculpt, as the more likely scenario. The tail was pulled away from her rump and resculpted, and the hole that was created in the process had to be plugged - and in the process, created another seam. The direct remodel of the mold would also go a long way towards explaining the FAM’s rather odd proportions: there’s only so much you can do to remedy a mold, once it’s been cast.

According to Marney’s book, the In-Between Mare mold still existed as a separate and independent mold, at least until the early 1990s. I’m not so sure it did. As I’ve pointed out several times before, Marney is not the most reliable or trustworthy source: the IBM and the FAM are remarkably similar at first glance, and I can see how she could have confused the two.

The truth could be very, very different. I don’t have direct access to the molds - and I didn’t have the knowledge or the foresight to ask way back when I (very briefly) did - so what we have here is another case built on thin evidence and speculation.

As long-time readers know, this is about par for the course, when it comes Breyer history.


beforetheRfell said...

I have always believed that to be where the seam clean up on the tail affected the buttock.

Anonymous said...

I think you're on the right track. The FAM matches the In-Between, you'd just need to fill out the body, slightly reposition the legs, add to the mane and subtract from the tail.

This makes me wonder if Chris Hess created the original horses in a multi-stage process. Perhaps the first Fighting Stallion looked a bit more like Trouble, and was gradually made into the clean, rounded, almost symmetrical form that is characteristic of his earlier horses?

Keep up the good work!:^)