Tuesday, May 27, 2014


The flea market was very full and very busy on Sunday, but I didn’t buy much; ironically, the busier it gets, the less I find. I think it’s because on pretty days like that, the dealers try to bring out stuff tailored to tourists or occasional shoppers, and leave the more specialized things at home.

Though there was a life-sized Pink Panther plushie I briefly agonized over. I totally would have bought him if I had room in the car.

My best find was five yards of vintage homespun fabric for a dollar. (The catch? It smelled like a dirty ashtray.) The only horses I saw were super-common pieces and body-quality stuff, of which I bought a few, because I get anxious if I don't have a certain level of bodies in my body box. 

I was rather shocked at how white the plastic was on these two, especially since they appear to date from the early 1970s. Then I realized: silly, this was just slightly before the Chalky era. They might be some flavor of White they were experimenting with back then that is not the standard Translucent White.

The clean break at the base of the Western Prancing Horse is almost a classic indicator of that. I once bought a box lot with a star-faced Classic Quarter Horse Mare who had both ears cleanly broken off at the base, making that weird girl look even weirder.

Many of the nonstandard plastics of that era had a certain brittleness to them. This was probably due to some slight chemical variations from the name brand Tenite Breyer was used to using. The models themselves are not significantly less durable than those made of the regular plastic, but they are just a tad less flexible. In other words, when you drop them, there’s not much bending, just breaking - and the subsequent ricocheting off of the broken pieces in strange directions.

It also makes the customizing process a little more challenging, since the plastic doesn’t behave the way we are accustomed to. This brittleness reappeared during the "B" mold mark era - ca. 1979-1983 - when Breyer switched over to Cellulose Acetate Propionate, because of availability issues with plain old Cellulose Acetate.

Brittleness can also occur due a lack of plasticizers in the plastic itself - the stuff that gives the plastic its flexibility. This can occur either due to age, or a too much regrind added to the mix. Some of the plasticizers evaporate during the molding process, so reground plastic will have less than fresh, or virgin plastic.

Both of these bodies are most definitely bodies, and I have no time to fix them up before Kentucky, regardless.

1 comment:

abushea said...

I have that same alarm clock!