Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bay + Pinto

The latest Vintage Club pictures are out, of the Gloss Bay Pinto Misty and Stormy, Coral and Reef:

Here’s an interesting little fact: prior to the early 1980s, all Breyer pintos were either Black, or some form of Chestnut ("Brown", Sorrel, Red Dun, Palomino, or actual Chestnut).

The company that brought us Decorators, Smoke, Charcoal, freckly Red Roans and multitudes of odd Appaloosas didn’t get around to producing a Bay Pinto production model until 1982, with the introduction of the Regular Run #230 Overo Pinto Stock Horse Mare.

Later in that same year we received a few more in the form of Christmas/Holiday Special Runs - the Thoroughbred Mare and Suckling Foal, and the "True Bay" Clydesdale Family (who were technically cropouts).

An argument could be made that the #88 Overo Pinto release of the Stud Spider mold, in 1979, could be considered earlier; in the 1960s, Breyer used the same "Five-Gaiter Sorrel" color interchangeably on some of its nominally "Bay" releases.

Even if we accept that line of reasoning - which I don’t, on the premise that Breyer seemed to have finally figured out what "Bay" was by then - that still only gets us to 1979. The only Bay Pintos that existed prior were the famous Gloss Bay Pinto Western Prancing Horses, made for a small group of hobbyists in the early 1960s, and some Test Colors.

Strange, isn’t it? Especially since it is not an uncommon color scheme in the real-horse world, unlike some of the more obscure or trendy that we get so worked up about today. It’s Bay plus Pinto: Breyer had the know-how and the technology to pull that off by the late 1950s.

I wonder what the thinking behind it was that led to this absence? Pintos were not all that common back then, since it necessitated creating elaborate, expensive and delicate metal masks specific to the mold. But did it really never occur to them to airbrush points and maybe a little black to the mane and tail?

Did they not think that consumers would be interested? Was it related to the fact that they had had such a hard time distinguishing between Chestnut and Bay, initially? Or was it as simply them being clueless, and not realizing they hadn’t done it before?

I don't know. I tend to fall into the "they were clueless" camp. It’s as good an explanation as any for many of the brand’s "Huh?" moments, then and now. And the correct one, more often than not.


xyzzy said...

Is it possible that the people choosing the paintjobs weren't into horses enough to have *noticed* coat colors beyond the most obvious ones, possibly with the colors of famous TV/movie horses added in?

(That occurred to me because I'm fairly certain that if I asked family members or friends that weren't particularly interested in horses, they'd come up with something very much like Breyer's early color line.)

Anonymous said...

I just want to know who named these two "Coral" and "Reef". I'm no oceanologist but even I know that coral reefs are found in tropical oceans and not off the US east coast. lol