Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happily Ever After

First, I stand corrected on the two-point trot thing: yes, Llanarth came out in 1994, four years before Rejoice. I had a funny feeling I was forgetting someone! It would have to be the Llanarth - I don’t know what it is about that mold, but he always slips down my personal memory hole.

Regarding artists who shouldn’t be sculptors: there’s more to the topic than you might think, history-wise, but I’m not up for that level of research this week.

The only research I’m up for right now is for the BreyerFest Fairy Tale Ending Contest. I was trying to come up with something that was cute, clever and immediately recognizable - and I think I have! I’m about at the same level of giddiness for this idea as I was for my "Belgian Chocolate Belgian" idea back in 2008. A good sign, I hope.

There’s not quite the same amount of work involved this time around; the key this time will be in picking just the right models to pull the idea off. My body box is a little sparse right now; I could make it work with what I’ve got, but I’ve got the time to find something better, so I might as well take advantage of it.

This year’s Contest Prize Model is a little different: a Dapple Gray Justin Morgan. He’s a little different because he’s the first Traditional Adult Horse mold used as a Prize Model since 2003. (We had the Appaloosa Old Timer "Jake" in 2002, and the Solid Gold Western Horse in 2003.) Everything since then has been smaller either in terms of scale, or stature.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen Justin Morgan in Dapple Gray; Reeves tortured us for several years with a test piece they used to model the #2466 Benchmark Saddleseat Saddle:

What made that test piece stick out in my mind was that it was such a departure: like all too many Breyer molds, Justin Morgan seems to suffer from boring paintjob-itis. Bay, Bay, Bay, Bay, Chestnut and Black: that’s the story of this poor boy’s life.

At least they’ve done a reasonably nice job on most of those colors - the Mahogany Bay on the #822 Morgan (1990-1992) is very handsome, and I think he looks great in Black Sabino as the #945 Tri-Mi Boot Scootin Boogie (1996-1997). He seems to show pretty well, too, regardless of his conservative color palette.

(Or maybe because of it. Another topic one of those topics ...)

One of the few colors that did not turn out so hot was, alas, a more daring color: a Sooty Dappled Buckskin on the #1142 Montana Harvest (2001-2003). While he sold reasonably well - as most Justin Morgans do! - that funky resist underdappling with black overspray definitely did not win fans among hobbyists. Hey, I generally don’t have any problem at all with weird and/or funky paint jobs, but even he was just a bit too outre for me. It made him look moldy.

I’m sure we’re going to hear the requisite whining about the "Happily Ever After" paint job, too. Lately, though, I’ve been tuning out of any online discussion where the term "chicken wire dappling" comes up. I grew up with splash spots, gray oversprayed socks and cornflake-sized resist dapples: I consider "chicken wire dappling" an almost unimaginable improvement.


Anonymous said...

I might be alone here, but I always liked the resist splatter dappling. When it was done well (read: anytime before 1997) it looked pretty realistic and charming. It was when the snake eyes came out that Breyer got lazy (maybe that was the start of the shift of overseas production?) and the splatter technique went from being less of a splatter and more of uniform, perfectly round dots that things got bad.

Little Black Car said...

I wanted to like Montana Harvest but the black overspray killed it for me. For one, black clashes with yellow and makes the horse look greenish or dirty, and for two, Breyer went through that phase of outlining muscles in "shading", which put me off a bunch of models that I would have bought, had they been more realistically painted.

I love Justin Morgan but I only have the original and the seal brown (who has shown very well). I'd love to see more of him. A RR of that dapple gray would be awesome. Dappled flaxen liver chestnut? Palomino? Pinto, for crying out loud? Come on, Breyer!

Carrie said...

Moldy? MOLDY!? Wow, I fell in love with Montana Harvest from the moment I saw him in the catalog. Although I may be predisposed, since I love a good gold/black horse combo. Ah well, boats floating & all that!

Christi said...

I saw Montana Harvest in the catalog and had him at the top of my Gimme List for ages (I love buckskins and palominos). Until I saw one in person, and those lousy resist dapples knocked me right out of love with him. They usually look like some odd fungus.

I did get a Montana a few years ago - at a flea market, body quality. He's going to be a CM project someday.