Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Old and Cranky

I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the past couple of days. Aside from a rough work schedule that completely messed up my sleep cycle, it rained - almost on cue - on Sunday morning. Grr. Nearly a month’s worth of flea marketing, lost. It’s nice that I’ve gotten so much work on the garden done, because it did need it. But darn it, I seriously need a cheap pony fix!

I did pick up a halfway decent archive/reference lot on eBay last week; lots of duplicate material (finally, something to sell!) but some previously unowned stuff, too. I haven’t had a chance to go through the "new" material in detail yet, but I’m pretty sure there’s a couple of future blog posts in there somewhere.

(What always cracks me up whenever I sort through one of these archives is when I find some of my own material in it. Duh - don’t need an extra copy of THAT!)

Because I am lazy, tired, cranky and just not into it today, here’s another semi-obscure Special Run for your enjoyment, on a rather appropriate mold: Old Timer!

It’s the Special Run Alabaster Old Timer, from the 1983 Montgomery Wards Christmas Catalog. Most hobbyists just assume he’s a reissue of the Regular Run #200 Alabaster Old Timer, which ran from 1966 through 1976. When compared to a Regular Run - here, my Old Timer cull - the difference becomes quite obvious:

Older Alabaster Old Timers have body shading, while the SR does not. Older Old Timers have so much, sometimes, that it seems wrong to call them Alabasters. It’s more like a softer, paler version of the "Slate Gray" color that first appeared on the #191 Bucking Bronco, who also debuted in 1966. (A coincidence?)

(The hats are different, too, I know - later hats don’t come with a painted hatband. But they’re not that reliable an indicator of oldness, since they are so easy to lose, switch or replace.)

Earlier Gloss Alabaster paint jobs, on models such as the Five-Gaiter, Mustang, and Old Molds, did come with variable amounts of gray shading, but rarely as extensive and consistent as the #200 Old Timers. Other contemporary Matte Alabaster paint jobs were all over the map: the Family Arabians rarely showed much shading, but the earliest releases of the Proud Arabians did. The slightly later Classic Andalusian Stallion and Lipizzan varied from model to model and year to year (with earlier pieces tending towards the more dramatic). But Classic Johars tended to be pretty tame.

In short, it’s hard to say whether the color on the SR Old Timer meant to be different from the original, or was just a consequence of the time period it was manufactured in. More the latter than the former, I'm guessing.


Little Black Car said...

My cousin had an alabaster Old Timer and I was always so insanely jealous. I need to find myself one. I have a nice glossy dappled gray, but he needs a pal.

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to know for certain if you have a 1983 vs a late run RR alabaster, if there is no other provenance?

ANDREA said...

Not 100 percent, no, but it's fairly rare to find an older Old Timer without at least a little bit of body shading.

"Patina" is a thing, too - the SR Old Timers tend to look "newer" than the old ones.