Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Chestnut G1 Saddlebred

That’s one thing I will confess to: there hasn’t been enough history on here lately. Some of it is related to my scheduling/time management issues - it’s easier to snark on current events than do deeper research on something more obscure, especially when the time you have to do it is at an hour when only vampires and cats are up.

But it’s also been technical: my computer set up has, shall we say, been becoming progressively less ideal. The computer is old and slow, finding a browser that still works with it a challenge, the scanner doesn’t work half the time, and even my keyboards give me heck. (Ever try to compose anything without using the letter "a"? "Bay" turns into "Light Brown with Ebony Points.") I have to work more hours to get the money for a new setup, which in turn leads to more scheduling issues…

Cutting to the chase: from now on I will endeavor to provide a little less hiss, and a little more history.

The other day I was trying to find the file about Hobo for a follow up on that post, when I got distracted by another file in the box, containing this gem:

The Stablemates Introductory Flier, from early 1975 - featuring the Chestnut Saddlebred! A model almost as sought after as its silver-plated cousin, but considerably more elusive.

Probably because I don’t think it was ever really released in Chestnut. I don’t know if they changed the color prior midstream, or if it was another instance of Breyer still having issues distinguishing between Bay and Chestnut. I’d like to think it was a last minute change, but they’d have some issues telling Tobiano from Overo a few years after that, so either theory is plausible.

Regardless, the Chestnut Saddlebred’s appearance in the 1976 Dealer Catalog and Collector’s Manual, and on the early backer cards caused a great deal of consternation among early aficionados of the Stablemates, including me. They released the Arabian Stallion as Citation, and the Morgan Stallion as the Arabian Stallion - it was not inconceivable that they could have made a mistake with the Saddlebred, right?

But none were to be found. A few did turn up eventually - I've never laid eyes on one, but people I trusted to know the difference between Bay and Chestnut have - but never in numbers sufficient to convince me that it was meant as an intentional thing. They had to be either factory escapees, or unpointed Bays.

Breyer nonetheless heard from collectors about it - any time a regular run turns out even slightly different from the catalog pictures, they hear about it. So much so in the Saddlebred’s case that they almost rectified the situation - over a decade later. (Better late than never, right?)

The Chestnut Saddlebred was proposed as a Special Run for Hobby Center Toys, in Ohio, in 1989. It even went so far as to get an item number - #415002 - but for reasons unknown to me, they went with the Dapple Gray Little Bit Drafter Horse, named "Charger", instead.

Charger’s a cutie - I’ve definitely been getting my groove on for the Little Bits molds lately - but he’s no Chestnut G1 Saddlebred.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are killing me with the Hobo wait. That was the only horse from my childhood that went missing. I had looked for him but just didn't find the right one for years. Then last year my daughter went to Breyerfest and came home with a boxed Hobo set, including the book - just like the one I had!