Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Real Gamble

I’ve been possessed by a very naughty notion for the past couple of days. What if the "mystery mold" for the BreyerFest Spun Gold SR turns out to be … Lady Roxana?

It sounds like a wonderfully macabre experiment: What would happen if you created a scarce SR on a model nobody collects? And even better - what if they throw in some even rarer pieces in the mix, like they did with the previous Gambler’s Choice?

(Actually, that last part’s not a "what if": they’ve said as much on the official BreyerFest blog.)

It’s not so far fetched when you give it some thought. It’s a vintage mold, we haven’t seen her for a while (since 2006, as the light gray #1234 Sahara), and she’s got an artsy, fantastical look that would fit in well with the fairytale theme. Toss in a crazy, metallic paint job, and I think we've got a winner.

(You're talking to someone who's got two test color Roxanas: our interpretations of "winning" are probably going to be a little different.)

Lady Roxana is more popular than you might think among nonhobbyists and the younger set, most of whom just see a cute little prancing horse with a swoopy mane and tail, and not a personal affront to their delicate artistic sensibilities.

Roxana was meant to be much prettier than she turned out to be, as Rich Rudish’s original sketch hints at:


As for what went wrong, exactly, between conception and execution, I’m not going to go into that, especially since it seems to be a topic that gets some hobbyists way more agitated than they need to be.

(I actually saw a hobbyist get red in the face at BreyerFest one year, whilst discussing Lady Roxana mold. Her argument ended with "I know what art is, and this isn’t it!" Being trained as an art historian, the infamous quote attributed the artist James McNeill Whistler came immediately to mind. Since comparing hobbyists to cows has been shown to be not so good an idea, I wisely refrained.)


I have no personal beef against her (the mold, or that hobbyist.) She’s not what I was hoping for either, but she has some finer qualities worth appreciating, too. Lady Roxana was the first freestanding Traditional mold to do a correct trot: it wouldn’t be until over a decade later that they’d attempt the two-points-plus-tail-balancing act again, with the Rejoice mold.

I also think she has a very pleasing, Art Nouveau feel to her which, considering she was originally sculpted as part of the "Artist Series" of molds, might have been intentional. Mr. Rudish is no longer with us, however, so we’ll never know for sure.

11 comments:

Stockstill Stables said...

The black gulf that is her eye wants to suck me in... Not a mold I care for at all. I do like the Sham mold tho.

Little Black Car said...

I've only got one (the original) but that one is definitely one of my sentimental favorites. She and Legionario III pulled Cinderella's pumpkin coach for an art project when I was in fifth grade, 22 years ago.

I always meant to get a body and do her over as a carousel horse. She does have an Art Nouveau look, and, now that you mention it, I do remember being totally stunned by the idea of her balancing on her tail.

Anonymous said...

I quite like the Roxana mold, I wouldn't mind adding a couple gold ones to my collection! I mean really, who cares about the biomechanics of a GOLD HORSE anyway, it's not like we're going to be showing it in breed classes.

Anonymous said...

Paint her in gold, maybe put a horn on her, and I'd bring at least one home, too. Or wings- she'd look pretty awesome with wings.

Blue Diamond Tack said...

She was my very first Breyer ever - the set that came with the dark foal. So needless to say, she is very near and dear to my heart. (And she survived quite well without too many rubs from being played with since she was so stable!)

Anonymous said...

People hate this but love the Ethereals. My mind is blown. I mean, the modern Moody molds are easily this cartoony. It's not anything to get worked up over; it's just the sculpting style. I don't own a Roxana, but I think she's kind of art nouveau, like you say. I wouldn't show one, but hey. (Although in fairness, seeing that sketch does make me wonder what the heck happened.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I find the hilarity with people hating on Lady Roxana while going nuts over Kathleen Moody's pieces - all of which have MAJOR conformational faults, horrible hair and are just... well, fugly.

Becky Turner said...

I think maybe it was a combination of 2 things... one is Rich wasn't much of a sculptor.. he was an illustrator.. I loved his drawings and wish I could find more copies of his work.. he did some very pretty ones with boarders... but from what I have seen of his sculptures.. he wasn't very good.. and two is, I heard he was really rushed to do them so he had no time to get them right. its something that I just don't get with Breyer, always rushing the sculptors so they can only do a half decent job on some of them.... Sommer said the same thing about the Tennesse walker she and Kathleen did for them.. they were very rushed in doing it.. why not just tell them way ahead of time what you want so they don't do ugly pieces then? or just wait till they are done.. shesh.. they sure would sell better and people would be much happier to get nicely done pieces ...

Carrie said...

I've never heard her described as 'Art Nouveau' before, but it's wonderfully fitting. It'll make me look at the mold in a new dimension from now on!

Hey, didn't Llanarth True Briton do the 2-feet-&-tail act a few years before Rejoice?

Helen said...

Your theory would fit Breyerfest's fairytale theme: the well-intentioned but homely peasant becomes a beautiful and desirable princess.

I'm starting to like Lady Roxana more. I wonder how Breyer might stress her Art Nouveau aspects, in this or another run.

Julie said...

Please let us know more about the test runs you own and you acquired them, please. :D