Monday, June 17, 2013

Black Calf

I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to over the weekend, but I did enough to keep me from losing my mind as I ramp up prep for BreyerFest. As usual, I am nowhere near ready. Just because I’m not doing the costume contest this year doesn’t mean I don’t have a million other things to do.

Now to finish up a post I wrote during my last epic road trip; it’s been stuck on a thumb drive in my work bag, the one that rarely leaves the car. (What else is on the drive? My resume, a couple NaNoWriMo novels, and the accumulated knowledge of the Krell. Duh.)

During my discussion of the Black Family Arabians, I called them "one of the earliest" Special Runs aimed directly at hobbyists. One of the earliest, yes, but not THE earliest. The first verifiable, probably-not-a-repurposed-Test-Color, sold-direct-to-hobbyists Special Run was…

The Black Angus Calf. I don’t have one, so just imagine a Holstein Calf, except all black, and sort of satiny, like the Family Arabians. They were sold at Model Horse Congress in 1977, several months before the "National Hobby Month" debut of the Family Arabians. Approximately 100-150 pieces were made.

(Were there Special Runs that were sold prior to the Black Angus Calf? Well obviously - I’ve discussed some of them here - but I speak of items specifically targeted and made for the hobby, and hobbyists. Whole ‘nother animal, so to speak.)

Why … that, of all things? Good question. I don’t know the answer. It could have been a situation similar to the Family Arabians: maybe they were repurposing Calves leftover from the early 1970s – ones that were also a victim of the 1973 Implosion. Maybe they were test, in a way, for the Family Arabians. Maybe Marney said something to Peter about hobbyists wanting more Calves for performance setups. Perhaps it was a promo piece for the soon-to-be-released #365 Black Angus Bull mold.

I have no idea. In the absence of other evidence, all these theories seem equally valid.

They were not a huge hit, at least initially. The Bentley Sales Company had them on their Discontinued sales lists for a while, even with the relatively low piece count. The Livestock molds were not that big a thing in the hobbyist set at the time – it wouldn’t be until the mid-1980s that the Nonhorse molds really started taking off with collectors.

The Black Angus Calf is a pretty tough little cookie to track down nowadays, if only for the passage of time. There was one on eBay a few years ago, went for a price I definitely couldn’t afford.

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