Sunday, March 10, 2013


I feel like such a bad model horse mama. 

I can’t believe it took me this long to finally open up my Vintage Club Commander. The box got tucked up in the blind spot underneath my desk, and I almost completely forgot about him. I’ve been selling off a few odds and ends on eBay - nothing worth mentioning, just the kind of stuff that doesn’t seem to sell elsewhere - and as I was shuffling boxes around, I noticed his.

I had seen some comments here and there about his color being just a little bit off, and after having him sit on my desk for a few days, I think I can see it: mine definitely has a rosy tinge to him. Most vintage Smoke paint jobs have more of a blue-ish cast.

Reeves did try to distinguish the hoof color from the body color: early gray hooves (on all models that sported them) were black-based: black pigment, watered down. So, good for them for noticing that little detail.

Smokes and Charcoals, however, were not black-based - at least, not entirely. They both had a little extra "color" added to help distinguish them from each other.

Early Smokes, as I mentioned above, tended to have a blue tint: if anyone out there is a rock hound, think of the natural blue-gray color of slate or shale. Early Charcoals - until the late 1960s - had a definite brownish cast; early Mission Supply House and Red Bird sales fliers even went so far as to  describe the color as "Charcoal Palomino". It’s a term I believe originated with an as-yet-undiscovered Breyer price list or flier, and has also led me to speculate in the past that the color might have been an early attempt to recreate the color we now know as "silver dapple".

In the late 1960s, Breyer Charcoals switched to a more blue-ish (or at least, less brownish) tone, with the exception of some very late (possibly the last run?) of the Matte Charcoal Family Arabians, who are a distinctive dark chocolate brown without even a hint of black pigment on them.

Those late Charcoal Family Arabians are so different from the earlier Charcoals - even their hoof color is a near-fluorescent pink - that I’ve often wondered if they possibly might have been a Special Run of some sort. (I have no evidence of this, beyond the color being so off-spec.)

The shading is really nice on Commander, and they’ve managed to get most of the little details right - it’s just that the color is just a little bit off. I would have gone with a different ribbon color, too, but I’m just nitpicking at this point.


Anonymous said...

Nitpicking is all this hobby does anymore.

jay said...

It's interesting that they went with a red ribbon, which would naturally pull out the rosy undertones, if they knew the model was traditionally blue-tinted.