Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Return of Woodgrains?

The new Woodgrain release Mú Wén Ma, on the Clock Saddlebred mold, took me by almost complete surprise. We’ve been promised new Woodgrains for so many years now - with so little payoff - that I tended to dismiss all rumor of them. When I saw the sneak peek in the JAH Annual, I blew that off as just another tease.

The only production Woodgrain that we’ve had since 1973 - the year a lot of stuff went away, and never came back - was the 1999 Special Run BreyerFest G2 Clydesdale keychain Stablemate. Even he was a little bit off, something I attribute largely to the scale. It's hard to get good graining on something that small.

There are a lot of explanations for why Woodgrains were not brought back in any meaningful way until now. A few of the more commonly passed around ones include:
  • The technique involved some fairly nasty substances, some now banned/heavily regulated.
  • The only people who knew how to do it well retired or passed away.
  • The technique was too time consuming and/or expensive to be profitable.
  • Collectors and hobbyists wanted more realistic colors and finishes.
  • The painters who did know how to do it basically told off anyone who suggested the idea "Nope, not going to do those anymore. Can’t make us."
…and so on. Like most decisions, I’m guessing it was a little bit of all of that. I am partial to the one involving the painting department, back in the day, giving Peter Stone dirty looks and shooing him away.

("This isn’t about the Woodgrains again, is it? I thought we all agree we weren’t doing any more Woodgrains. Now either paint something, or go away.")

The mold isn’t my favorite - the Clock Saddlebred mold just doesn’t ring my bells like it does for a lot of hobbyists - but from the pieces and PR photos I’ve seen, he does look very promising. I might have to add him to the list of things to consider buying at BreyerFest.

It makes me optimistic for a Woodgrain Vintage Club release, too. My choice for this? Easy - the Clydesdale Mare and Foal. It'd be like a beefier version of the Family Arabians!

The Clydesdale Stallion in Woodgrain isn’t one of the harder vintage Woodgrains to find, so unlike the Vintage Club Gray Appaloosa Proud Arabian Stallion Harlequin, most collectors would be able to complete that family without a lot of undue strain to their time or money.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget there was also a SM G2 Andalusian woodgrain available at B'Fest '99. On a separate note, do you have any more details on the planned JAH subscription contest from 1990? It was teased with a small image in the Jun/Jul(?) Issue featuring the PAM, but I never heard anything else about it.

ANDREA said...

I had a feeling I was missing something. Thanks for the correction!

That contest was one of those unfulfilled promises. AFAIK, they were never made. If they were, I don't know who/what they were or what happened to them.

That contest was also from whence the "painting department brush off" rumor originated.