Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Not Your Average Bear

My first reaction when I read the e-mail about the new Web Special Sucesion and Le Fire was: Only $135? What a deal! Seriously, that’s about 40 to 50 bucks cheaper than what boxed Regular Run sets of considerably greater piece runs are going for now. I thought with it being a two-piece set that they’d be charging a little bit more than that.

I’m not going to fuss over the affordability of the latest Web Special, though, since the flea market season is now officially underway.

It was another cold and quiet "opening day" on Sunday. There were quite a few horse-related objects lying about - used tack, potmetal carnival horses, tiles and other doodads - but I didn’t buy anything other than a couple of cute, Classics-scale ceramic Zebras of unknown origin for Mom. (They look vaguely Robert Simmons-ish.)

The big find of the week came the next day, when I stopped at the local Salvation Army on the way home from work. I needed a new wallet, and the only one I’d seen lately that I even remotely liked was a better-than-average knockoff I saw there last week. After picking it up, I took a quick cruise of the knick-knack aisle, and look who was nestled next to the Christmas decorations:




A pretty darn nice dark-faced variation of the Breyer Black Bear! When I picked her up, it appeared that she had some white housepaint speckled on her - something I see on a not-infrequent basis. A quick bath in hot soapy water and a gentle rubdown with a washcloth usually takes care of the problem.

After her bath, however, I discovered that some of those opaque white "paint flecks" weren’t paint flecks. They were rubs and chips down to the opaque white plastic. Such as this small gouge on the bottom of a rear paw:



She’s a White Plastic Chalky! Awesome!

I hadn’t heard of any Chalky Bears before; seeing as they have a dark, full-body paint job, they wouldn’t be immediately obvious to most hobbyists unless some damage - such as rubs or chips - happens to reveal it. They were within the realm of possibility, though, since the Black Bears were in production throughout the entire "Chalky Era", not being discontinued until the end of 1976.

That she’s a White Plastic Chalky is also somewhat typical of Nonhorse Chalkies - not all are, but a bigger-than-average percentage of them seem to be. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision on Breyer’s part, but it makes sense if it does. Getting good paint coverage for a basecoat on roughly textured molds like the Buffalo or the Bear would have been a major pain in the behind. 

Just a few weeks ago I was griping to myself that good quality, harder-to-find Chalkies were rapidly shooting out of my price range. And now The Universe practically delivers one to my front door.

3 comments:

GWR said...

What a neat find! And a chalky plastic, too. Nice!

The black mama bear I found in San Antonio many years ago also had flecks of white paint, too. What's up with that?

ANDREA said...

Paint rollers "aerosolize" paint, creating little tiny droplets of paint that get all over everything when you paint your walls.

Which is why tarps and plastic sheeting are a good thing.

FYI Collector's Club peeps - there's a very limited edition (less than 100) buckskin Foundation Stallion for sale on a first come, first serve basis on the Breyer web site RIGHT NOW. Get it before the scalpers do!

ANDREA said...

The link, if you need it:

http://www.breyerhorses.com/index.php?productId=608