Friday, May 9, 2014

Gray Vs. Gray

Today’s pet peeve. This is Gray Appaloosa:

This is Dark Dapple Gray:

Whatever you want to call the color in your live show documentation, pedigree assignments or the privacy of your own home is your own business; model horses have no genotypes.  (Note: the pic skews a bit yellow - scanning references photos here, because the basement is still being painted.)

However, the term "Gray Appaloosa" has a very specific meaning in the model horse world, especially the subsection of it that we are all obsessed with here: Vintage Breyer models.

It’s Gray, with black or dark gray points, and a splash-spotted blanket, usually (but not always) located over the hindquarters. For a period of time in the 1960s, they painted the white blanket around the belly instead of the butt, but still kept the spots there. When they made the switch to Matte Finishes, the spots and the blanket matched up again.

We’re not entirely sure why they started painting them that way; some speculation is that it was originally a mistake, but then it became intentional, or something like that. It’s a separate topic I’ll get around to someday.

But anyway. If you are ever in the possession of a Dark Dapple Gray model - the only two true Vintage ones being the Running Mare and Foal - refer to them as such. If you call them Gray Appaloosa, collectors of a certain stripe (like me) are going to think Gray Appaloosa, not Dark Dapple Gray.

Yes, they have spots on the butt too - sort of. But for whatever crazy reason Breyer decided to call that color "Dark Dapple Gray" - to distinguish it from all of the other versions of Dapple Gray. Some of which are just as distinct and identifiable variations of Dapple Gray too, but never merited a special name. It's another one of those (probably) unsolvable Breyer mysteries.

If any true vintage Gray Appaloosa Running Mares and Foals do show up - Matte or Gloss - it would not be pretty. (Except to the seller, maybe.) 

There’s plenty enough confusion in the model horse world over color as it is, and we don’t need to add to it, even if we don't really mean to. Just do a little research, and call it what it was called when it was issued.

If there’s any potential for accidental misidentification (like a words-only saleslist, or verbally) just add a few qualifiers to your description. The #36 Racehorse is a good example: it was referred to as a "Bay" in the original Breyer documentation, even though it’s really Chestnut. Use air quotes, or call it Chestnut/Bay, or Bay/Chestnut. (Or perennial eBay favorite: Brown!)

(Hmm. A true Honey Bay Racehorse would be nice.)

First antique show of the season tomorrow, yay! It's an outdoor one, so I hope it doesn't rain. Time for bed!


Anonymous said...

If you are ever in the possession of a Dark Dapple Gray model - the only two true Vintage ones being the Running Mare and Foal -

What about the dapple gray (and dapple black) Belgians?

Totally different pattern I know, but still could be called "Dark Dapple Gray." :)

Anonymous said...

I just bought a G1 dapple grey morgan stallion that was listed as a Breyer appaloosa. So I feel your pain.