Thursday, April 24, 2014

More on Woodgrain Variations

Keeping it light today, as I’ll be on the road for most of it.

Following up on the comments in the previous post, yes, there is a Variation of the Fighting Stallion that comes without markings. I’ve seen enough of them - just missed getting one on eBay, not too long ago - that I think it’s safe enough to call it a legitimate Variation, and not merely a natural (accidental, day-to-day) one.

The Woodgrain Fighting Stallion was in production from ca. 1960/1 through 1973, about twice as long as the Family Arabians. Anything in production that long is going to have some variation in the run, intentional or not.

I have had a lot of Woodgrain Fighting Stallions over the years, but my favorite is Smudgy. Remember Smudgy the Woodgrain?

Definitely a small-v variation. I haven’t seen anything else like him, except for some early attempts by faux finishers to replicate Woodgrain. Smudgy’s definitely the real deal - I see no evidence of tampering anywhere on him. His finish is fine, smooth, his markings are perfect, and he still has most of his footpads. But he looks more marbled than woodgrained.

Near as I can guess, either he was a salvage job on an otherwise subpar woodgraining job, or the product of some serious goofing off at the factory. Or maybe they were experimenting with a more "realistic" Woodgrain finish that day. Don’t have a clue, I’m just glad he’s here.

Truth be told, I don’t have a whole lot of Woodgrains here at the Ranch. Other than the Family Arabians, and my assortment of Fighters (light, dark, Ranchcraft Lamp, Smudgy…) all I have I either obtained at the flea market (Shetland Pony, Boxer, Running Mare and Foal Lamp) or in box lots on eBay (Racehorse, No Muscle Clydesdale Stallion).

And a Brahma Bull with a Tenite sticker that I bought in a fit of pique, because I wanted to buy something scarce and pretty and not in need of any significant repairs, for a change.

So nothing exquisitely rare or desirable, as far as Woodgrains go. Unless Smudgy counts.

My Clydesdale might, too.

The Clydesdale was purchased in a lot with a Test Color Classic Andalusian Stallion and a variation of a Christmas Catalog Special Run. As far as I can see physically, there’s nothing to suggest that the Clydesdale is anything other than what he appears to be: a standard, production run #980 Clydesdale.

However, the fact that his box lot buddies were so unusual, and the seller’s address was in suburban Chicago, make me wonder if he’s something more. I didn’t follow up with the seller as I should have, and I haven’t had the chance to pick up a Woodgrain No Muscle Clydesdale with a more conventional pedigree to compare, either. So for the time being he remains an average, run-of-the-factory Woodgrain Clydesdale with an intriguing provenance.

But back to the other suspect Woodgrains in the last post.

I find their lack of markings a little suspicious because Woodgrain Variations, outside of the occasional obvious cull, are rather unusual. The variations that do occur are more a matter of color or quality of woodgraining - like Smudgy. (Also occasionally, as in the case of the Clydesdale, one of mold.) When unusual or distinct Woodgrains do show up, they sell quickly, and for not insubstantial amounts of money.

(Smudgy is not going anywhere. Don’t even think about it.)

As I said before, I haven’t heard of or seen Five-Gaiter or Mustang Woodgrains without markings, which means that they’re rarer than the Fighters, which themselves aren’t easy to find. This suggests to me that if any exist at all, they’re either Tests or genuine Oddballs.

Pictures of the Classic Andalusian Test, next time.

(The Woodgrain Clyde is currently not in the display rotation, and the basement is in the process of being prepped for painting, so storage excavating is not an option right now.)


Denise said...

Neat blog! I do have a woodgrain Boxer that has no markings-eyes unpainted, whole dog is solid woodgrain. Not sure if he's a variation but I think they usually came with atleast their eyes painted if not the white mask on face? Would love to see a close-up pic of Smudgy! How neat!:)

ANDREA said...

Sounds like your Boxer is a cull!

RowanMorgaine said...

A totally random question here - I seem to remember you mentioning you live in Detroit. I'm going to be in downtown Detroit for a conference in mid-May. Are there any good places to look for Breyers (new or old) that aren't too far afield? I won't have a car and will have to rely on public transport. I haven't had much luck with Google, so thought I'd ask the expert!

ANDREA said...

In Detroit, there's not much - most of the hobby stores there are RC-based (which is HUGE around here).

Just outside of Detroit there's The Doll Hospital & Toy Soldier Shop in Berkley and Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy in St Clair Shores. The Berkley/Royal Oak area has a lot of fun/funky little shops in general, including some awesome hobby/craft stores like Michigan Toy Soldier & Figure and Munro Craft.

If like old books, you MUST go to John K King Books. It’s considered one of the best used book stores in the world, seriously.

The Motor City Comicon is in Novi the weekend of May 16-18 also. Worth noting: this year's special guest is William Shatner!

RowanMorgaine said...

Thanks! That helps! I'll definitely have to go to the bookstore (especially since it's a library conference I'm going to).