Saturday, June 4, 2011

On Upgrading

That thing I told you I might have to worry about? I have to worry about it. More later, as the situation develops.

Almost finished cleaning and prepping - just in time for the next round of horses! The last few were a bit on the difficult side: they were possible upgrades. How much effort did I really want to invest in them - enough to make them "saleable," or enough to make them collection-worthy?

(There’s not that much difference in those two categories, really - it’s just that that extra half an hour of work that makes that difference doesn’t usually pay off, financially.)

I used to be big on upgrading, but gave up doing it as vigorously as I had because it was too much like work. If I just happen to find something that’s a little bit better than mine, and I have the initiative of pulling and comparing, great. If not, oh well, no biggie.

One of the upgrades I did make was to my Gray Appaloosa Mustang. There’s not a huge difference between the two, when you do a casual, side-by-side comparison:

There was nothing really "wrong" with my original one, per se - good color, condition, nice spotting, and so on. I’ve liked him enough to keep him around for almost twenty years now, without even giving upgrading a second thought. He’s been a good, solid addition to my collection.

It wasn’t a matter of condition: both models have about the same level of minor condition flaws. My original - the slightly lighter one - has a slight roach back (a factory molding error), while the new guy has a strange (also factory) paint blooper on his right cheek.

The newer guy isn’t quite as charcoal-y as he is in the picture, but he’s definitely darker, and he has the cutest little spray of splash spots on his butt that you can’t quite see. It’s a little less common variation than the more extensive spotting on the old guy, but that’s not why I ultimately decided to "trade in." I just liked him a little more.

I’m not sure if the differences in the paint jobs represents an evolution, with one being earlier than the other, or if it’s only representative of the natural variation inherent in this style of painting. The two earliest references we have of the Gray Appaloosa Mustang - the 1961 Inserts, and the 1963 Dealer Catalog - show lighter models with more extensive spots. From the 1961 Insert Sheet:

It’s not something most hobbyists - even me - have given much thought to. No hobbyists were giving it any thought back when the model was in production in the early 1960s, either. In the earliest days of the hobby, hobbyists were more excited about having each other, than they were in the having the rarest, coolest or most unusual things.

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