Monday, August 23, 2010

Airbrushed Stormy?

Something short today: I had some scheduling conflicts over the weekend, again.

I see that another airbrushed Misty was confirmed; I spotted it in a group lot on eBay last week and suspected it was so, but the dental issue put a kibosh on me bidding on it. (The final price wasn’t too bad, actually, but still out of my budget range.)

I misspoke slightly when the topic was brought up again on Blab; these airbrushed Mistys (Misties?) could be any one of a number of things. If they’re test colors, then a quantity of 5 to 7 pieces would be a reasonable and logical assumption: that’s what a typical test run of that era ran. They could also be salesman’s samples made prior to production and prior to the creation of the painting mask: unfortunately, I have no idea how many salesman’s samples were made on average back then.

The third possibility is that they were early production pieces made prior to the creation of the painting mask. This is what happened with Jasper, the Market Hog, and the early Diamondot Buccaneers.

The "early production piece" idea seems unlikely, though, when you consider how complex Misty’s pattern is: this isn’t just one big, smooth spot or random dabs of black paint! Hand-airbrushing a pinto pattern of Misty’s complexity seems really, really unlikely in a high production environment. A few dozen pieces, maybe, but a couple hundred - or thousands? I don’t think so!

So whatever her origins might be, she's going to be rare, regardless.

Now, what about Stormy? Did she come in an airbrushed version? She did on her original white box from 1977:

And in the 1977 Dealer’s Catalog, too (obviously the same photo, uncropped):

The Stormy seen in the group shot in the Collector’s Manual appears to be the same piece, but it’s a little too small for me to be 100 percent sure.

That means there has to be at least one hand-airbrushed Stormy out there. I haven’t seen any "in the wild," though. The one I got for Christmas back in 1977 isn’t, and neither is the one that came in the box I scanned, above.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a few being out there; there was a Stormy on eBay a couple of years ago that looked like it might have been, but the bidding got a little too hot and heavy for me to find out first hand. Now that I’m prowling eBay seriously again (just for research purposes, naturally) maybe I’ll spot another.

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